Covering Avon Grove, Chadds Ford, Kennett Square, Oxford, & Unionville Areas
Volume 155, No. 19
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Carrillo selected to fill vacancy on Kennett School Board By Chris Barber Contributing Writer
The Kennett Consolidated School District board selected Lenda Carrillo to fill the seat left vacant with the resignation last month of Maribel Garcia. Carrillo, 41, of Kennett Square, earned six of the Voters’ Guide by the board’s votes at the May League of Women Voters of Chester County...2B- 10 meeting in the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center. 10B She defeated Dominic Perigo, a former school board member and current
volunteer, who also applied for the position. She is a clinical supervisor at Behavior Health Systems in the borough. She is a graduate of Kennett High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Pennsylvania State University and her master’s degree in mental health counseling at Immaculata University. Carrillo has two children, one in seventh grade and one in first grade. Following her election, she said, “It’s an honor. I’m very
happy … beyond happy.” Among those advocating for her selection to the board was board member Dave Kronenberg, who said, “I believe the board is making a statement to the community with this vote. Forty-five percent of the student body is Hispanic, and zero percent of the board is. I think it’s important for the students to have someone to look up to and stand for them.” Photo by Chris Barber Carrillo said she would Kennett School Board president Joe Meola, right, like to advocate for swears in Lenda Carrillo to her seat on the board. She Continued on page 2A
Community rallies to support ‘amazing young man’ In the thicket of their expression...4A
Jacob Yoder, an Army National Guardsman, was injured in a serious auto accident last October. Local police and firefighters are taking part in a softball tournament on May 22 to help support Jacob, who still has many needs while he works toward his recovery By Steven Hoffman Staff Writer
The history of the mushroom industry...1B
INDEX Opinion.......................7A Obituaries..............5A-6A Classifieds.................8A
The community is rallying to support Jacob Tyler Yoder, a 20-year-old southern Chester County man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident last October. Union Fire Company No. 1 of Oxford and the Oxford Borough Police Department are teaming up to take on the State Police from the Avondale Baracks in a softball tournament on May 22. The afternoon of fun includes plenty of food and drinks for sale, as well music, raffles, and more. The event, which will take place at the Oxford AA Field, benefits Jacob, who is making progress in his recovery, but Courtesy photo still has considerable needs. Jacob Yoder is enlisted in the Army National Guard Shawn and Natasha Yoder, and graduated from basic training in Fort Benning, Jacob’s parents, said that Georgia. He was a distinguished honor graduate, earnContinued on page 2A
ing an invitation to Ranger School.
replaces Maribel Garcia, who resigned last month.
Dennis C. Melton, architect, musician, community leader, 1947-2021 By Richard L. Gaw Staff Writer The Kennett Square community has lost one of its most significant visionaries, trailblazers and leaders. Dennis C. Melton, an architect, musician and one of the founding members of The Kennett Flash, died on May 5 at the age of 73, due to a recent brain aneurysm. Born in Winchester, Va. on June 2, 1947 to parents Howard and Marion, Melton served the local community in his capacity as the principal at Melton Architects, which he began in 1993. During his career as an architect, he was responsible for the design or reservation behind many iconic landmarks in Kennett Square, including the Anson Nixon Park Performance Pavilion, the Country Butcher, Philter Coffee, and the restoration of the historic Chalfonte House.
At the time of his death Dennis was the local architect of record for the new Kennett Library & Resource Center, a 29,257-square-foot building that will begin construction this summer. “Dennis will be sorely missed,” said Jeff Yetter, president of the Kennett Library Board of Trustees. “He truly loved Kennett and helped to shape the Kennett Square that exists today.” In addition to his work as an architect, Melton served the Kennett community in several leadership roles. He was the President of the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce in 2006 and was a member of the Legislative Committee and the Route 1 Corridor Initiative. With his guitar, introspective original songs and his signature hats, Melton was also one of the region’s most prominent musicians, pairing Continued on page 3A
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Primary Election takes place on May 18
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Eight candidates vying for four seats on Oxford School Board By Marcella Peyre-Ferry Contributing Writer School board candidates are vying for one seat in each of the three regions of the Oxford Area School District, as well as an at-large position that is up for election this year. Candidates for school board positions may run for one party’s nomination or cross file to appear on both ballots in the Pennsylvania Primary Election. Two candidates are seeking the nomination for the at-large seat: Jennifer Kehs has cross-filed and will appear on both the Republican and Democratic primary ballots, while Sherri Matis-Mitchell is on the Democrat ballot only. Kehs is originally from the Pittsburgh area, and she has lived in Upper Oxford Township for the last 19 years. She has five children now attending the Oxford Area School District, including the district’s Early College Academy. Her children’s success has been a motivation for her run for a seat on the school board. “I think it’s been a really good experience for my kids,” she said. “I want to be involved in what they are going to be learning, and ensuring they
have these programs like the Early College Academy.” Kehs has been very involved in the community, particularly with youth. She has been a Girl Scouts leader and is a Junior and Youth Program Leader at Russellville Grange. “I have a love for children,” she said. “I think this would be a good place for me to serve and try to make sure the education they get is of the highest quality—that they have a lot of programs available to help them grow and develop.” Kehs is a Penn State University graduate with a degree in chemistry who works as a clinical researcher. She has 25 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry, plus a strong background in both science and business. She is very organized. “Those skills that I bring with me from that background will help me (on the school board),” she said. ”I think I do well with budgets and timelines and negotiations.” Quality of education is one of Kehs’ main concerns, along with financial responsibility. “Making sure that the resources are there for our kids, as well as good, strong people that can teach our children, and just making sure that we balance the budget, that’s all
important for the school. We can still offer good programs for the kids with a balanced budget,” she said. “I’m a resident of the area so, of course, I’m always concerned about our residential school taxes. It would be good if we could balance the budget without raising taxes for people that live in the area.” Her greatest concern is the children of the school district. “I think what’s really key to me is that I really have a heart for kids,” she said. “The school district serves children in this area of all ages. I think we should be ensuring a good, strong education is available to all the kids, and that they have all of the different programs they need to be successful.” This is Kehs’ first time running for office. “I’m very active in my community. This is just another way to serve,” she said. Matis-Mitchell is seeking the democratic nomination after running for the school board two years ago, when she cross-filed. “I don’t believe the school board should be partisan,” she said. “It’s about students and how schools benefit our community, and that’s nonpartisan. I do not have children in Continued on page 3A
A look at some of the decisions registered voters will be making in this election cycle By Steven Hoffman Staff Writer Voters will see plenty of familiar names when they cast ballots in the Pennsylvania Primary Election on Tuesday, May 18 as many incumbents are seeking re-election. The Primary Election allows registered voters of each political party to select the candidates who will be nominated for the General Election. The General Election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Here’s a look at some of the decisions voters will be making in the Primary Election: Borough Council races In Oxford Borough, three incumbents are seeking reelection in a crowded field that is likely to remain crowded heading into the General Election. With four seats up for election in 2021, the Democratic candidates who have filed are incumbents Robert Ketcham and Ron Hershey as well as Amanda Woolston and Mary-Laura Buchner Hulse. On the Republican side,
Amanda Birdwell is seeking re-election and Michael McMurrough and Bill Fitzpatrick are looking to win their first election to Oxford Borough Council. In Avondale Borough, the borough council candidates who have filed are Democrats Janet Watts and Michael Essmaker and incumbent Republican William Shore, Jr. Council president David Prosser is seeking re-election in West Grove Borough, as is council member William Temme. Lauren McDevitt, Leandria Hall, and Michael Ranieri have also filed for the Primary Election. Big changes appear to be coming to Kennett Square Borough Council, where the four incumbents who are up for election this year are not seeking re-election. Kathleen Caccamo, Timothy Kerver, Samantha Ferraro, and Bob Norris have all filed for the Primary Election as Democrats. Norris previously served on the Kennett School Board and as a supervisor in New Garden Township. Continued on page 2A
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Chester County Press
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they are thankful to everyone who is helping out with the May 22 event, just as they have been heartened by the prayers that have been lifted up for their son over the last eight months. Shawn and Natasha keep family, friends, and their southern Chester County neighbors informed about Jacob’s progress through daily updates on a Facebook group. According to the people who know him best, Jacob was an amazing young man long before he started the valiant effort to recover from his current injuries. In some ways, Jacob was a typical kid of his age—he liked fishing, spending time with friends, and working on his truck—but in other ways he was always very mature for his age. He prioritized spending time with family and helping others. “He is committed to God, family, and country,” Shawn Yoder said of his son. His parents proudly talk about some of his accomplishments. He has gone to Honduras as a short-term missionary assisting with construction of medical clinics, church structures, and a school. He volunteered as a short-term missionary with the Joni and Friends organization to assist
Carrillo... Continued from Page 1A
expanding the diversity of the school district staff to reflect the makeup of the student body. Carrillo, like all candidates who are selected to fill unexpired terms, will have to run for her seat to retain it in the next election. In other business, when high school principal Dr. Jeremy Hritz was asked about plans for graduation, he said it would
Primary election... Continued from Page 1A
Mayoral races Southern Chester County has four boroughs where mayoral races will be decided in 2021. Kennett Square mayor Matt Fetick and West
as an aid to the families and children that are affected by disabilities. He also assisted with raising service dogs for Canine Partners for Life. He is enlisted in the Army National Guard and graduated from basic training in Fort Benning, Ga. He was a distinguished honor graduate, earning an invitation to Ranger School. He has also been involved with his church, the Manor Presbyterian Church, in a variety of activities. He would go out of his way to help his family, an uncharacteristic trait for someone so young. “He’s really an old soul,” Shawn said, adding that his son has always loved Oxford and is proud to be from the small town. Jacob dedicated so much time to helping others, but now he needs some support after he was in a serious accident involving a tractor trailer in Maryland on Oct. 2, 2020. Jacob was extricated from his vehicle and rushed to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del. for lifesaving surgery. Because of his extensive injuries, Jacob had to have an emergency craniotomy to remove the right bone flap of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain. He had a traumatic brain injury and he also suffered facial fractures and a defused axonal injury of his
brain stem. He underwent neurosurgery to clear two brain bleeds and he suffered several strokes during his stay in the Intensive Care Unit. In the weeks that followed, Jacob was on life support and the doctors were not sure if he would survive. He was first in an induced coma, and then he slipped into a noninduced coma. Throughout the stay in the Intensive Care Unit, he also suffered from pneumonia and several staph infections. But he battled and he was eventually well enough to be discharged so that he could start physical rehab. Within the first week of starting rehab, Jacob regressed and had to be moved to Paoli Hospital for surgery. There, he had a cranioplasty to replace his missing right bone flap that had been removed. The synthetic bone flap surgery worked and he was soon able to resume the rehab work. But he had another setback while at rehab and had to leave again to have a shunt placed to drain fluid collecting at the center of his brain. The shunt was successful, and Jacob began to make progress again. Through all the ups and downs, the family has taken great comfort in their faith. “I truly believe that everything happened for a reason,”
return to the high school after its move to the middle school campus last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It will be on June 11 at 6 p.m. at either the front steps or the stadium. It will be as traditional as possible,” he said. Superintendent Dr. Dusty Blakey said that new directives from the Chester County Health Department on the use of face masks have relaxed so students will not have to wear them when they are outside and engaged
in vigorous sports or other activities. Board Treasurer Michael Finnegan reported that he had no new figures on the proposed 2021-2022 budget because there has been no recent report on the state budget, which would inform them how much support the district can expect at that level. Monday’s meeting was the first one to take place in person since the district went to virtual meetings due to the pandemic more than a year ago.
Natasha said. “God was in this all the way.” Jacob is now able to follow basic commands and he is beginning to actively partner with the therapists who are working with him. The road ahead will be a long one as he will need to learn how to walk, talk, chew, and swallow. The Yoder family is working to meet his needs, such as providing Jacob with a hospital bed, wheelchair ramps, and a handicap-accessible shower, and lifting devices to aid in moving and exercising Jacob until he recovers. They will also need a vehicle that can transport Jacob to and from his appointments. The biggest need, however, is for a home that is large enough to accommodate Jacob’s needs because the family’s home in Cochranville can’t. Right now, Natasha spends a lot of time with Jacob at her father’s home in Nottingham. Jose Reyes has made some modifications to his home, but the ultimate goal is for the Yoder family to have a living space that can accommodate Jacob’s needs. “He needs a bigger space. He needs a room where he can do his therapy,” Natasha explained. They started a GoFundMe page to help raise money to buy or build a house. When Leda Widdoes learned about some of the challenges that the Yoder family was facing, she felt compelled to help out. Widdoes is a local business owner, a former Oxford Borough Council member, and a volunteer with several organizations in the community. She knows how to bring people together for a cause. “I knew we needed to do something for this family,” Widdoes said. “We’re here for them. There’s that saying about how it takes a village, and that village is Oxford.” She enlisted Jim McLeod to serve as master of ceremo-
Grove mayor Stephen Black are both seeking re-election. In Oxford Borough, incumbent mayor Phil Harris is seeking a full, four-year term after being appointed to fill a vacancy. In Avondale Borough, Susan Rzucidlo is a Democratic candidate who
is seeking the nomination for mayor. Supervisor candidates Many townships will be electing supervisors in this election cycle. Here’s a list of people who have filed for the Primary Election along with the party that they seeking the nomination from: East Marlborough Township
Kathryn Monahan (D) William Mullin (R) Unexpired two-year term in East Marlborough Township Burling Vannote (D) East Nottingham Township Phillip Brenner (D) Shelley McLeod Meadowcroft (R) Joseph Herlihy (R) Thomas Faux (R)
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Jacob Yoder with his mother, Natasha. The community is rallying to support Jacob after he suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident last October. Union Fire Company No. 1 of Oxford and the Oxford Borough Police Department are teaming up to take on the State Police from the Avondale Baracks in a softball tournament on May 22. The afternoon of fun includes plenty of food and drinks for sale, as well music, raffles, and more. The event will take place at the Oxford AA Field, which is located at 1024 Hickory Hill Road in Oxford.
nies for the event. Oxford Mayor Phil Harris agreed to help out. Widdoes has taken the lead in planning the softball tournament, reaching out to numerous businesses and vendors in the community. Local businesses like Herr Foods and Landhope Farms, which support so many community events, signed on right away. The Giant Company donated hot dogs. Robinson’s Furniture, Bravo Pizza, Oxford Mobil, G & F Carpet, Hostetter’s, Bellybusters, the Oxford Gun Club, Howett’s Screen Printing, Oxford Feed and Lumber, Wyncote Golf Club, Chew’s Towing, Smith Mechanical, Cumberland Truck Parts, Cameron’s Hardware, Napa Auto Parts in Oxford, Sonny Bea’s, the Oxford Women’s Club, Flickerwood Wine Cellars, Nella Naturals, and Oxford Country Chrysler are among the many local businesses and organizations that are helping out with the event in one way or another. Widdoes said that she wanted to collect donations for gift baskets that could be raffled off. So many businesses and people in the community offered to donate items that the number of
gift baskets being raffled off quickly grew to 22. “The donations I am getting are incredible,” Widdoes said. “Everybody just says, ‘what do you need?’ They all want to help out.” She said that everyone is looking forward to the softball tournament and the opportunity to come together to help a local family in need. “This should be a fun day,” Widdoes said. Harris is an eager participant in the fundraising event. He first met Jacob when he reached out to the mayor about a project that he was working on. Harris said that he was very impressed with how mature, responsible, and eager to help the young man was. Harris said, “He has no call he won’t make, and there is no door that he won’t open. I have no doubt that he is built for this and will get through this.” For anyone who can’t make it out to the May 22 event but would still like to help out, checks can be made payable to Shawn Yoder, and they can be mailed to P.O. Box 17, Nottingham, Pa. 19362. Donations are also accepted at the Venmo account nyoder13.
Elk Township Estace Walters (R) Franklin Township James Johnston (R) Donna Dea (R) Dawn Dowling (D) Kennett Township Whitney Hoffman (D) Geoffrey Gamble (R) Peter Doehring (D) London Britain Township Glenn Frederick (R) Russell McKinnon (R) London Grove Township Christina Fanning (R) Unexpired four-year term in London Grove Township Stephen Zurl (R) Lower Oxford Township Kathleen Widdoes (D) Robert McMahon (R) New Garden Township Michael Loftus (R) Troy Wildrick (D) Edward “Ted” Gallivan, Jr. (D)
New London Township Dale Lauver (R) Penn Township William Radar O’Connell (R) Jay Ennis (R) Ronald Hill (D) Upper Oxford Township Howard Reyburn (R) West Nottingham Township Russell Lux (D) Tiffany Bell (R) Information about state judicial races, several county races, magisterial district court candidates, and the ballot questions that will also be on the ballot can be found in the non-partisan voters’ guide presented by the League of Women Voters on Page 3B of this week’s Chester County Press.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
Chester County Press
Melton... Continued from Page 1A
with his twin brother Dale as The Melton Brothers Band, the band Crossroads with his son Michael and in collaboration with dozens of other musicians, many of whom both performed and recorded with Melton. Along with Lee Zagorski, Melton was one of the key founders of The Kennett Flash in 2009 and served as its president until 2019. When Zagorski met with then Historic Kennett Square Director Mary Hutchins with the idea to create a live music venue in the borough, Hutchins contacted Melton, who helped secure a $25,000 donation. It quickly led to a follow-up contribution of $50,000 from the Longwood Foundation that helped fund the construction of the venue – which Melton also designed. He also founded and chaired the Summer Park Concert Series at Anson Nixon Park for its 14-year run. When Andrew Miller was hired six years ago as the general manager of The Kennett Flash, he looked to Melton for guidance on what kind of musical acts to book at the popular venue. “He quickly told me, ‘That’s why we hired you, figure it out,’” Miller said. “I realized I wasn’t going to have my hand held or have
Oxford School Board... Continued from Page 1A
the district, but I believe that education benefits the entire community.” Matis-Mitchell is a research scientist who started in chemistry with an interest in public health. She got her Ph.D from the University of Pittsburgh and worked on the human genome project and has taught at a graduate level. Now mostly retired, Matis-Mitchell wants to give back to her community. “I have more time to participate in local politics,” she explained. “It’s important to recognize everybody’s views, not just my own. What’s important is what people are saying and to try to be unbiased and listen and come to some sort of common ground that benefits most people. I want to try to represent everybody and listen to what everybody says, use my experience to provide what’s best for the students in the school district.” Matis-Mitchell sees test scores as one of the main issues for the district. “I think that there is a gap between where we are and where we should be,” she said. “We have smart kids. We need to give those kids a good foundation so they can go out and make good contributions to the rest of the world. It doesn’t necessarily have to be white collar.” Matis-Mitchell favors a strong foundation studies in math, science and English. “I’d like to see our test scores go up. That’s a really good metric that we have. I would really like to see improvement made in STEM certainly,” she said. Matis-Mitchell grew up in western Pennsylvania and has lived in the district since 1996. Her grandparents came to this country as immigrants who did not speak English. “We need to make sure all of our students from any background have an opportunity to learn not just English but also other skills. I came from a community that was a lot like this My father worked in a steel mill and we had a little farm. I did very well because I had people to help me. It’s about mentoring and giving back.” Responding to families is also important to MatisMitchell. “I think that we
someone micro-managing my work. It was up to me to make the decisions and policies for the day to day at The Flash. With time, it felt so liberating and less and less scary. I was able to do what I did best because of Dennis. “Dennis’s impact on me was personal,” Miller added. “It was one on one. Dennis impacted me as a friend and a mentor. He taught me a lot about philanthropy and arts giving. My biggest growth while at The Flash has been learning grant writing, talking with donors and talking with foundations. Dennis helped me a ton with all of that. Dennis gave me tons of confidence in myself. Dennis was The Flash, and in my opinion if you asked anyone behind the scenes in Kennett they would think of Dennis first when it came to The Flash. “I might be the public face of The Flash to the concertgoer, but to all the community leaders in Kennett -- Dennis will always be the face of The Flash.” Melton was also a founding member of the MLK Breakfast Committee and remained on the program committee for the annual MLK CommUNITY Breakfast event for more than 14 years. He was also a musical presence at the event, performing alongside former Kennett Square Mayor Leon
Spencer and long-time colleague Joan Holliday, whose more than 20-year friendship with Melton, she recently wrote, is “now living on in my heart and the broader community.” Holliday wrote that her friendship with Melton – whom she quickly learned shared the same Gemini birth sign with her -- also intersected with their involvement with the Kennett Community Choir that often paired their voices together during Christmas caroling on the streets of Kennett Square. “Dennis brought an easy and steady ‘We can do this’ attitude to everything he engaged,” Holliday wrote. “I appreciated our ‘twin’ meetings exploring visions and practical ideas of how to build the Kennett area community. We had a couple of nice runs with Inter-generational Community Living and enhancing the arts presence in town. There is no doubt that his many architectural and musical contributions will live on, but even more, his good will and love for each and all are eternal.” “It feels like the entire Kennett community has a collective broken heart after hearing the news about Dennis Melton,” Hutchins added. “We wonder how to fill the hole he left. Dennis’ fingerprints are on so many of the Kennett pro-
grams that make the area so special, such as the MLK CommUnity Breakfast, The Kennett Flash, the Anson Nixon Park stage, Christmas caroling and the list goes on. “We may not see Dennis walking through the downtown in his straw hat but we will always sense his presence.” For Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick, his connection with Melton began soon after he was first elected to his post. “When I first became Mayor he reached out to have coffee with me and share his thoughts about our community and some great background,” Fetick said. “He was always positive, willing to help, and generous. He loved to sing at the MLK Community Breakfast and to lead Christmas carols at the Christmas parade. He cared about history and
Along with his twin brother Dale, Melton (background) was a regular performer on the local and regional music scene, and also served as one of the founding members of The Kennett Flash.
architecture, and his creative talent can be seen in buildings all over our town. “Dennis was a true treasure who will be greatly missed.” Melton is survived by his wife Donna Hicks Melton, to whom he was happily married for 37 years; his son, Michael Melton; his brothers Dale (Joan Bristol) and Howard, Jr. (Susan); his niece, Charlotte Melton, and his grandnephew, Mason Lee Melton. “While we are reeling from this shocking loss, our family agrees that in the last year of his life Dennis had truly reached a place of peace,” a recently-issued statement from the Melton family read. “Knowing that has been an incredible source of grace and solace for our family
during these past heartbreaking days. “We are in the process of planning ways to celebrate Dennis’ remarkable life and legacy and we look forward to inviting you to share that celebration with us in the months to come.” In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Melton’s memory to The Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, Pa. 19348 or online at https:// www.kennettflash.org/ Funeral arrangements are being made by Matthew Grieco of Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. (1800-FUNERAL).
could do a better job of listening to input from parents. I think any time a parent speaks, we need to listen, but also follow through.” She also prioritizes school safety and finances. “People are concerned about their taxes being raised. That’s a valid concern,” she said. In Region 1, which is comprised of Upper Oxford, Lower Oxford East, and Oxford Borough East, incumbent Dr. Eric Owens is running for the democratic nomination. Cross-filed as both Republican and Democrat is Kristen Dean, who is currently serving on the school board as an at-large board member. This time she has opted to cross-file for the Region 1 seat instead. Owens, age 48, is completing his first term on the school board. He is a professor and department chairperson in the Department of Counselor Education at West Chester University. He also works part-time as a mental health therapist/licensed professional counselor. Owens was a high school counselor in Pittsburgh before moving to the Oxford area. “I teach mental health and school counseling at West
Chester within the College of Education and Social Work. I’ve worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education over the last decade on a number of different projects, as well as the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. I have also worked and consulted with school counselors, teachers, and administrators throughout the region and the state on issues related to mental health, school counseling, school funding, and trauma informed education,” he said. “I’ve genuinely enjoyed my time on the board, and I think I’ve been able to bring my expertise in education and in mental health to the stakeholders in the Oxford Area School District. I’m particularly proud of helping to lead the district through the COVID-19 crisis, but also I’m proud of being able to work with administrators and local leaders to bring additional mental health services to our district,” Owens said. For his next term, if re-elected, Owens lists his priorities as working with school leaders and teachers to explore how the kids can best recover what they may have lost over the last 14 months; to con-
tinue to explore how students can access mental health and emotional health resources that are difficult to find in the area; find ways to lessen the tax burden on taxpayers in the district; and determine how to better support teachers, who have done amazing work since the pandemic began. Asked about the major issues facing the board and how they should be addressed, Owens began with the impact COVID-19 has had on education. “Our teachers have done an amazing job over the past 14 months, but no amount of work was going to prevent our kids from falling behind. Between the challenges of online and hybrid learning, family struggles, economic hardship, learning from home, etc. it’s far too much to explain in a short answer. Our teachers have done the best they can, but we have much to do to catch up from this year,” he said. He also cited mental health and economics as important issues. “We need to refocus efforts and explore options for bringing free or low-cost mental health services to our kids and families, because kids need to feel safe and well
in order to learn,” he said. “With revenue challenges and increasing costs…we have to find ways to make the best we can with what we have, while limiting the impact on taxpayers.” Owens added, “I serve on the board because I genuinely and sincerely care about our kids, our community, and about public education. School board members are volunteers.
I do this because I care deeply, really deeply, about public education, and about our kids and our community. The last year has been beyond hard on every single one of us, but it has been especially hard on our kids, our teachers, and on public education. To lead us out of this, we need people with experience, and with an understanding of both educa-
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CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Chester County Press
Local News Four distinct artists will be merging their work -- and the power of their message – at the Scarlett Thicket Farm in Kennett Square on May 16-17
In the thicket of their expression By Richard L. Gaw Staff Writer On a recent Friday afternoon, four artists – Katee Boyle, Constance McBride, Lauren E. Peters and Leah Wells – walked through the empty spaces at the Scarlett Thicket Farm in Kennett Square, buried in a kind of last-minute and creative hellfire. They were just eight days removed from the opening of their two-day collaboration at the Chester County Studio Tour on May 16 and 17, and over the next week, each artist curated and retrofitted their latest work into the crevices of a barn, and through the power of their images, the jitters of finishing a new installation will transform into an artistic nirvana. For those who visit
Studio No. 53 at Boyle’s Scarlett Thicket Forge on the Chester County Studio Tour this coming weekend, they will see the merging together of strength, vulnerability and narrative – all woven from the same fabric of the feminine perspective and told in the manner of four artists who choose to express their message without veils. “All of our work is so different,” said Boyle. “We are women, telling similar stories from four different perspectives.” Peters’ entry in the tour is the latest stopover for a series of vibrant selfportraits that breaks open the way we see ourselves through the prism of society’s heightened awareness for self definition. Her self portraits have earned her a fellowship from the
Delaware Division of the Arts as the “Emerging Artist” in the painting category, and led to her work being displayed around the country. A studio artist at the Delaware Contemporary, she recently curated an exhibition there that invited 17 artists to create their own interpretation of her 2016 painting, “portrait (orange).” “The whole approach to these series of paintings stems from the fact that while I don’t like being the center of attention, I really like bright colors, “Peters said. “The perspective of my paintings is that while I will hide my face in the composition itself, it still has the full effect of a self portrait.” For ceramic sculptor McBride, exhibiting a preview of her series of eight
busts she calls “The Lonely Girls” -- which will be fully unveiled this coming November -- is an extension of a personal story she has been telling through her art, one that is reflected in a career that explores themes of identity and memory, with an emphasis placed on issues most experienced by women. “My mother died of Alzheimer’s and I have a brother-in-law whose father died of Alzheimer’s and my sister-in-law died of Alzheimer’s,” McBride said. “This is an issue that is just not going away, and the expansion of this series is important for me. I think we all work through personal issues through our art, and frankly, the more personal the art is, the more universal it is.” Throughout her emerging career as photographer, Wells’ photos have earned recognition for what has become her signature look of ethereal moodiness, intensified through the
Photo by Richard L. Gaw
Four area artists will be showing their latest work this Saturday and Sunday at the Scarlett Thicket Farm in Kennett Square, as part of the Chester County Studio Tour. From left to right, are Constance McBride, Lauren E. Peters, Katee Boyle and Leah Wells.
sionist, her stories stem from personal tributes to an unyielding faith in the power of emotional responses. This weekend, visitors will get to see her latest collaboration with photographer Carlos Alejandro. “Part of Katee’s feminine voice is about being liberated,” Alejandro said. “It is about being freed from the very things that tie us down -- our culture, our history, our gender, our socioeconomics. For me, it was, ‘Let’s break those bonds and deteriorate the image.’ I believe that my craft is in a lot of ways the emotional context of the image, so that the medium itself is also part of the image and not just a picture.” “I don’t give people answers through my work,” Boyle said. “I want it to speak to everybody. I want to teach people to learn to learn to slow down and look at a full story. And while I am not giving away the ending, I want them to walk away with their own interpretation.” In a recent social media post, Boyle wrote that a major component of her art has been to “illustrate second skins, or memories through the female form. I speak to the human experience from the only perspective I have, the female voice under the influence of social conditioning and internal suggestions. “My work is my response to life, and I’m not givPhoto by Leah Wells ing answers. If the looker “Anguish,” pigment image transfer on oxidized aluminum. should walk away with questions, then I have done my job.” This exhibition will be No. 53 on the 2021 Chester County Studio Tour, which will take place on May 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on May 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Scarlett Thicket Farm is located at 284 West Street Road in Kennett Square. The 2021 Chester County Studio Tour, sponsored by Citadel Federal Credit Union, is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www. countystudiotour.com for a map, artist and studio listings, and the catalogue. For more information about each participating artist, visit: Katee Boyle: www.kateeQuality Education That’s Close to Home boyle.weebly.com Constance McBride: • Earn credits or a degree with affordable tuition www.constancemcbride. • Financial aid and scholarship opportunities com • Transfer agreements to numerous four-year Lauren E. Peters: www. colleges and universities laurenepeters.com Leah Wells: www.leahwellsphotography.com Enroll Now for Summer
hands-on creation of analog layers that enhance her images. For Wells, making a photograph often involves processes like chlorophyll printing or Zia type printing, vellum overlays, dyeing with indigo, gilding, handmade paper, oxidized metal or botanical dyes. “I became weirdly obsessed with making botanical contact prints – dyeing paper with flowers,” she said. “I don’t know how I stumbled upon it, but I tried to transfer pigment to one of the prints, and it really worked. I continue to explore transferring with paper and film, and everything has begun to spiral into all these processes that became a big lasso I threw into the air.” In her work as a visual Photo by Carlos Alejandro Courtesy photo storyteller, Boyle explores “Photo of The Artist in The Cocoon From “The Lonely Girls,” 2011-2014, by a wide range of media Dress.” Constance McBride. including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video, words, sound and installation to create the artifacts and narratives Courtesy photo “Grownup,” 40” x 30” by attributed to her work. A conceptually-driven expresLauren E. Peters.
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CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
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Obituaries M. GERTRUDE SCHMIDT
DENNIS C. MELTON Dennis C. Melton, a well-known architect, musician, and community leader, died on May 5 as a result of a recent brain aneurysm. He was 73. Dennis was born in Winchester, VA on June 2, 1947 to Howard and Marion Walton Melton. Inspired by The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Dennis and his twin brother Dale formed a band called The Prodigals. They went on to play with the Watson Brothers and other bands in the U.S. and Canada. They then formed The Melton Brothers Band in 1977. Dennis also formed a band called Crossroads with his son Michael, and the late singer-songwriter Billy Penn Burger. Dennis received his degree in architecture from Drexel University in 1987 and launched Melton Architects in 1993. He was the architect responsible for the design or reservation behind many iconic landmarks in Kennett Square, including the Anson Nixon Park Performance Pavilion, the Country Butcher, Philter Coffee, and the restoration of the historic Chalfonte House. At the time of his death, Dennis was the local architect of record for the Kennett Library. Dennis loved being an active member of the Kennett
Community. He served as president of the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce in 2006 and was a member of the Legislative Committee and the Route 1 Corridor Initiative. He served as the president of the Kennett Flash from its founding through 2019. He founded and chaired the Summer Park Concert Series at Anson Nixon Park for its 14-year run. He also was a founding member of the MLK Breakfast Committee, serving on the program committee and singing in the choir for more than 14 years. Finally, Dennis, Joan Holiday, and Leon Spencer led the annual Holiday Caroling in Kennett. Dennis is survived by his wife, Donna Hicks Melton, to whom he was happily married for 37 years; his son, Michael Melton; his brothers Dale Melton (Joan Bristol) and Howard Melton, Jr. (Susan); his niece, Charlotte Melton, and grandnephew, Mason Lee Melton. A musical celebration of Dennis’s life will be held at a later date and will be announced on the obituary tribute page. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Dennis’s memory to The Kennett Flash 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, Pa. 19348 or online at https:// www.kennettflash.org/. Arrangements are being handled by Matthew Grieco of Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. (1800-FUNERAL). Condolences are welcome at www.griecofunerals.com.
M. Gertrude Schmidt, a resident of West Grove who was formerly from Pittsburgh, passed away on May 2 at the Jennersville Regional Hospital. She was 94. She was the wife of the late Raymond Martin Schmidt, with whom she shared 60 years of marriage. Born in Pittsburgh, she was the daughter of the late Francis and Anne Smith. She was a member of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in West Grove. She is survived by her two sons, Douglas M. Schmidt (Christine) and Eric Schmidt (Emily); one daughter, Holly Lash and her companion, Roger L. Coney; five grandchildren, Matthew M. Schmidt (Darcy), Gretchen Reasner (William), Garrett Lash, Andrew Schmidt and Elliot Schmidt (Sara); and four great-grandchildren, Mae Reasner, Ben Reasner, Brodie Schmidt and Della Schmidt. A memorial mass was celebrated on May 6 at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in West Grove. Interment was in Oxford Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
Alleluia But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
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Chester County Press Continued from Page 5A
HARRY O. TRACY Harry Olin Tracy, 71, passed away on May 9 in the Southeast Veteran’s Center, Spring City, Pa. One of four children, Harry was born in West Grove on April 16, 1950 to the late Samuel Tracy, Jr. and the late Doris (Mullin) Tracy. A 1968 Octorara High School graduate, Harry loved baseball while in high school. After graduation, Harry enlisted into the U.S. Army where he faithfully served his country fighting in the Vietnam War for two tours. He served in the C16th Dark Horse Air Cav out of the first Aviation Division. Harry enjoyed fishing, especially in the Delaware Bay, as well as hunting locally and in the mountains with his family. He also enjoyed watching the Phillies baseball games and Kansas City Chiefs football. Harry leaves behind his wife, Diane (Musacchio) Tracy, and three children, Daniel Tracy, Samuel Tracy (husband to Amber) and Lindsey Tracy. He is also survived by two sisters, Donna Garrett (wife of Steven) and Myrl Ward, and one grandchild, Devin Tracy. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Tracy. A private graveside service will be held at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pa. A private family viewing will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.on Monday, May 17 at Shalkop, Grace & Strunk Funeral Home. A very kind thank you to the staff at the Southeast Veterans Center and the Compassion Care Hospice for their care and kindness to Harry. Online condolences can be made at www.sgsfuneralhome.com. All arrangements are being handled by Shalkop, Grace & Strunk Funeral Home, Inc. in Spring City, Pa.
Obituary submissions The Chester County Press publishes obituaries free of charge for funeral homes with active advertising accounts only. Others with a connection to southern Chester County are charged a modest fee. Obituaries appear on the Wednesday after they are received with a Monday 5pm deadline. They are also posted on www. chestercounty.com. Photos should be sent as .jpeg attachments to the obituary text. To submit an obituary to the Chester County Press or for a rate quote, email the information to email@example.com.
BONNIE MOXEY MAXWELL
RYAN NEIL PETICCA
Bonnie Moxey Maxwell, a resident of Greenville, Del., passed away peacefully at Methodist Country House on May 5. She was 82. She is survived by these members of her immediate family: a son, Thomas T. Hodges of Lancaster, Pa.; a daughter, Marcia M. Hodges of Falls Church, VA; stepdaughter Alison M. Kochie of Hockessin, Del.; and brother Todd G. Moxey of Penllyn, Pa. Born on July 27, 1938 in Philadelphia, Bonnie was the daughter of the late Marcia Moxey and John Moxey, both Quakers and Swarthmore College graduates. Passion for knowledge was a family tradition: her parents thought the most valuable inheritance was the gift of a trained intellect and an inquiring mind. To that end, Bonnie graduated from The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa. in 1956. She earned a degree in government from Smith College in 1960 and, at age 67, an M.A. from the University of Delaware, where her thesis on Katharine Hepburn won the Raymond Callahan Prize for outstanding achievement in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. In December of 2010, Bonnie finished the coursework requirements for a Ph.D. in American history, also at the University of Delaware. Her career included service as an officer in U.S. Marine Corps (1960-1962), Viet-Nam training officer for the U.S. foreign aid agency (1967), sales training manager with Xerox (1975-1979), director of development and alumni affairs at Westtown Friends School (1979-1981), membership manager at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1981-1992), and director of external affairs at Valley Forge Military Academy and College (1992-1994). For the balance of the 1990s, she and her last husband, the late Howard Maxwell, former president of Girard College, formed a consulting firm, The Gateway Group, in Sussex County, Del. Bonnie served on numerous non-profit boards since 1963: the Navy League of the United States, Philadelphia (Vice President, Marine Corps representative); the National Exhibits by Blind Artists organization; the Women Marines Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter (President); the USS Pennsylvania commissioning committee; the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (National and Philadelphia Ball Boards); the American Association of Museums Development and Membership Committee; the Junior League of Washington D.C. (Secretary); the Smith College Club of Washington D.C.; and the Marine Officers’ Wives’ Clubs in Washington D.C., Camp Lejeune, NC, and Quantico, Va. When asked once what she wanted engraved on her tombstone, Bonnie replied, “She tried!” Did she ever, and with considerable success, as this life summary indicates. Friends, family, and co-workers will miss her bright presence in their lives. Services and burial are private. Memorial contributions may be sent to The Baldwin School, 701 Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pa., 190103505. Please visit Mrs. Maxwell’s online memorial at www. kuzoandfoulkfh.com.
Ryan Neil Peticca, 25, of Avondale, passed away May 6 at Jennersville Regional Hospital in West Grove. Born in West Chester, he was the son of Anthony Neil Peticca of Boothwyn and Carmen Neredia Torres Diggs of Avondale. Ryan enjoyed bowling, fishing and going to the movies with his friends. He is survived by his parents; step-father, Chris Brown of Avondale; step-mother, Rebeccah Peticca of Boothwyn; maternal grandmother, Judith Pagan of West Grove; three sisters, Gabrielle Peticca (Gage Phillips) of Avondale, Lauren Peticca of Boothwyn and Aesha Russell of Avondale; one brother, Jamie Russell of Avondale; four aunts, Ana Rivera (Julio) of West Grove, Veronica Pagan (Anthony Garcia) of Oxford, Jessica Valentin (Kyle Bolden) of FL and Julie Strouth (Terri) of Exton; two nieces, Alissea Phillips and Alayna Twyman; and six cousins, Raenia, Tom, Arianna, Julianna, Taliah and Lucca. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Daniel Torres; paternal grandparents, Anthony Peticca and Gerri Peticca; and one cousin, Alejandro Rivera. Funeral services are private and the interment will be in Oxford Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford. Online condolences may be made at www.elcollinsfuneralhome.com.
JOHN A. LATTANZIO John A. Lattanzio passed away on May 7 at his residence in Avondale. He was 71. Born in West Chester, he was the son of the late Robert Lattanzio, Sr. and the late Mary D’Annunzio Lattanzio. John was a maintenance mechanic at W. L. Gore in Newark, Del., retiring in 2015 after 35 years of service. He was a member of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Church in Avondale. John enjoyed woodworking, landscaping, riding his motorcycle and being with his family and friends. He is survived by one daughter, Theresa Zunino-McFalls of West Grove, one son, Stephen Lattanzio (and his wife Crystal) of Landenberg and seven grandchildren. John was predeceased by two brothers, Robert Lattanzio, Jr. and William Lattanzio, and two sisters, Jean Zunino and Lucy DiUbaldo. You are invited to visit with his family and friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12 at the Foulk Funeral Home, 200 Rose Hill Road, in West Grove. Please practice social distancing and please wear a face mask. His burial will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the West Grove-Avondale Rotary Club, P.O. Box 280, West Grove, Pa. 19390. To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, please visit www.kuzoandfoulkfh.com.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
Chester County Press
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Letter to the Editor
The forever imprint of Dennis Melton
The first step in restoring public trust in Kennett Township government
On February 9, 1964, much in the very same way 73 million other Americans did that Sunday evening, 16-year-old twin brothers Dennis and Dale Melton gathered before the family television to watch the Ed Sullivan Show. There was nothing extraordinary about the particular episode, other than the fact that it marked the live television debut of a group of four mop-topped young men from the ragged streets of Liverpool, who found themselves suddenly thrust into the consciousness of a country that had just been shaken to the core by the death of their beloved President three months before. The groundswell of attention given to these young men by a country still in mourning was all they needed, and with two guitars, a bass and a set of drums, they flew a Pan Am flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed just outside of New York City, and set about that task of making our country smile again. None of these young men the Melton brothers were about to see came from sterling musical pedigree. None were born into wealth or at the time had attained any of it, but there they were, ripping into “All My Loving” with a confidence that defied their youth and seemed to reach through the screen and tell every American kid with huge dreams watching at home that there is nothing they are not capable of. As the Beatles left their instruments to shake Sullivan’s hand and playfully acknowledge the wails of the young girls who were lucky enough to be there at the theater on 50th Street in Manhattan, Dennis and Dale Melton looked at each other and said, “That’s what we’re going to do.” For Dennis Melton, who died on May 5 at the age of 73, dreaming was as essential as breathing, and he spent his life in the company of those for whom lofty imagination is essential to life: musicians, community leaders, town planners, architects and those dedicated to the belief that we are better together than we are apart. How is the measure of a human life defined more clearly than by the forever imprints they leave behind when they leave us? Dennis Melton’s work as an architect – most of it coming out of his cozy row home office on Broad Street in Kennett Square -- gave us the Anson B. Nixon Park Performance Pavilion, the Country Butcher, Philter Coffee, the restoration of the Chalfonte House, and, perhaps most grand of all, the new Kennett Library & Resource Center that is scheduled to begin construction this summer and will be completed at the end of 2022. The forever imprint of Dennis Melton also made a beautiful sound, seen in recordings and live performances, in collaboration with his brother Dale and far too many other singers and songwriters and strummers and drummers to possibly fit on a single stage. The forever imprint of his music went far beyond his singing and his guitar; it was seen in his ingenuity to introduce live music to Kennett Square by becoming one of the founders of The Kennett Flash, as well as the Summer Park Concert Series at Anson B. Nixon Park. Perhaps nowhere was the forever imprint of Dennis Melton felt more than at the annual MLK Community Day celebration of the life and mission of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., where he was a founding member of the MLK Community. It was at this event that the community saw the side of Dennis Melton that lay behind the quick and ready smile and the extended hand of friendship – the side of him that spoke of his humble servitude for his brothers and sisters who did not share the color of his skin. On February 9, 1964, Dennis Melton sat frozen before a television screen and saw his future. It was a forever imprint of a moment in history and one that inspired Melton to live out his life in a dream sequence of accomplishment, collaboration and decency. He stared deep at the blank pages of his profession and filled them with the most breathtaking use of space. He made music when before there was empty noise and sweetened the air, and he imagined, through the simple act of kindness, how we as a community can be become the best versions of ourselves. Dreamers are, by their very nature, the first ones in. They are the first stakeholders to what is at first nothingness, and through the sheer constancy of their imagination, turn nothingness into possibility and convince others to join them. We are a better community because of Dennis Melton, and now it is our turn to follow what he did, and leave the forever imprints of our most gracious selves.
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Letter to the Editor: In the May 18 Democratic primary, I am challenging the incumbent, Whitney Hoffman. The main issue for Democratic voters is which of us will be better able to win in November. From the beginning, my main contention is that Lisa Moore’s alleged $3.2 million embezzlement, which occurred on Hoffman’s watch, will make it impossible for Democrats to win if Hoffman is our candidate, so voting for me is the better option. But I also believe there is a much larger issue at stake - restoring public trust. The pervasive lack of public trust in government at all levels is not a Democratic or Republican problem, it is a national problem.
Public trust starts and ends with public accountability. Regrettably, politicians of both parties are often all too eager to preach public accountability until their own mistakes come to light. Then they try to ride out the storms created by their self-dealing or just plain incompetence, hoping it will all be forgiven or forgotten by the next election cycle. Sadly, it sometimes works. But when politicians operate this way, and we the voters let them get away with it, our democracy loses. The people lose their trust in their leaders, and ultimately in their very system of government. They begin to see no benefit to speaking out, much less in voting, and democracy itself goes into decline.
At the extreme, some come to see the government as illegitimate and can be manipulated by demagogues to try overthrowing it by force, as we shockingly saw in Washington earlier this year. How do we revive public trust and get our democracy back? We all have to become accountable, together. In Hoffman’s case, she rightly used what remained of her time in office to try to mitigate the damage that her lack of oversight had helped to bring about, and she needs to be positively acknowledged for that even if the results have been mixed. But to finish the job, to take full responsibility for her mistakes and to restore public confidence, Hoffman should have stepped down at the next
available opportunity. Since she failed to do that, it’s now up to the voters to remove her, either in the primary or, failing that, in the general election. Whatever our party affiliation, we voters need to tell the world that we ultimately hold our leaders to account. That is our job as voters, and if we don’t do it, we have only ourselves to blame when our democracy inevitably flounders. In this election, holding Hoffman accountable is the first step to restoring the public trust that Lisa Moore allegedly stole from us all. Peter Doehring Candidate seeking the nomination by the Democratic Party for Kennett Township Supervisor
Support Bobby Brown on Election Day Letter to the Editor: Pennsylvania has elections every year and 2021 is for local and county positions from school board to township supervisor to county controller. One office that often gets overshadowed is Magsterial District Justice (MDJ) probably better known as District Justice. Matt Seavey is the current MDJ for this area, but in 2021 he has a challenger and that challenger is Bobby Brown. Brown is a
long-time resident of West Grove and has worked in private industry as well as a district constable. Brown is campaigning to run for an office that allows candidates to cross file, that is, to run as both a Democrat and as a Republican. Each MDJ is elected to a six-year term of office and holds hearings on the following: summary cases, civil and landlord/tenant cases not exceeding $12,000, criminal cases and preliminary
hearings on misdemeanor and felony cases. Brown is running in the primary and upon successfully winning he will enter into a four-week, full-time education program that teaches what the MDJ needs to know to perform the job. Following the course work, a test will be administered to all participants. Currently, there is some campaign literature that suggests that Brown is not qualified to serve as a Magisterial Justice. While
this statement is valid at this particular moment in time, by the end of June, and the conclusion of the course work and test, Brown will be qualified. Anyone who wants to be an MDJ must either be a lawyer or take the course and pass the test. This is the same route that Matt Seavey took back in 2009. Find out more about Bobby Brown and the MDJ position on Facebook. Eric Schott London Grove Township
Pennsylvania’s waitlist system is an injustice to its disabilities community By State Rep. Melissa Shusterman Countless Pennsylvanians living with autism or an intellectual disability and their families have their lives put on hold as they remain on a waitlist, in some instances for years, to receive critical support that helps them lead productive and healthy lives. Pennsylvania’s medical assistance program includes home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers, which provide disabled Pennsylvanians with necessary support and care. This includes accessible housing and employment opportunities, granting people the opportunity to live more independently. Those with ID and autism or a physical disability may utilize this waiver system to receive care that Medicaid will cover and avoid institutionalization. While this mission aims to increase the inclusivity and quality of life for people with ID or autism, funding from the state legislature continues to dwindle. As funding diminishes, the HCBS waivers waitlist grows. As of March 2020, nearly 13,000 people were on Pennsylvania’s list awaiting these services. Over 5,000 list members were in
the “emergency” category, meaning they need services immediately or by no later than six months. Meanwhile, the nearly 3,000 people in the “planning needs” category will need assistance within five years. It is unacceptable to leave a vulnerable community waiting indefinitely on services they need to survive. This is why my Democratic colleagues and I are fighting for our Pennsylvania Rescue Plan, which includes an intellectual disabilities waiting list initiative. If enacted, our plan could accommodate over 1,000 people on the individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism emergency waitlist. This funding from the American Rescue Plan would benefit people and organizations right here in southeastern Pennsylvania that help people living with ID or autism reach their full potential. Valley Forge Educational Services is one of them. They have been committed to helping Chester County residents living with intellectual disabilities develop life and social skills, maintain relationships and reach their employment goals. For over 60 years, they’ve helped more than 10,000
children and adults with disabilities lead healthy, productive lives. Funding from the Pennsylvania Rescue Plan could help keep their mission alive. Grace Fornicola, Valley Forge Educational Services’ executive director, recently said, “Without access to this waiver funding, individuals with intellectual disabilities are not developing selfsustaining independent skills nor receiving critical services that ensure their health and safety, confidence, community belonging and overall sense of self-worth. All of the adults we serve through our program, Customized Workforce Solutions, rely on waiver funding for employment supports and related services.” While the rescue plan is a step in the right direction, it only serves a fraction of vulnerable Pennsylvanians in need.
I support my colleague Rep. Liz Hanbidge’s bill that would end the HCBS waiver waitlist and expediate the process. Her House Bill 682 proposes that Pennsylvanians who are eligible for the HCBS waiver program receive their HCBS waiver benefits no later than 90 days after they become eligible for Medicaid. Together, through fair funding and effective legislation, we can correct this injustice and get people the care they deserve. For years, openings for these life-sustaining services and housing have remained stagnant. It’s time we reform this ineffective system and prioritize the needs of vulnerable Pennsylvanians. One of our jobs as legislators is to protect our most vulnerable citizens, and this is one of the many ways we can do that.
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Chester County Press
Oxford Borough to offer free parking in parking garage on Primary Election Day A ballot drop box is also located in the Oxford Library By Betsy Brewer Brantner generous financial support. Contributing Writer He explained that various programs called for creative Oxford Borough Council thinking since the center was has unanimously approved closed in March of 2020. free parking at the park“We continued some of ing garage for the May 18 our exercise programs at Primary Election. Nottingham Park, or by Chester County voters will Zoom. Providing meals has also have access to 13 secure been difficult,” McLeod ballot drop boxes for mailed said. or absentee ballots for the The biggest challenge, he primary. The drop boxes are added, has been in the sharlocated at the 13 libraries ing of information. across the county, including “Not all of our seniors have the Oxford Library at 48 S. computer access so much of 2nd Street in Oxford. our interaction was done by Ten drop boxes will be phone. I thank my staff for monitored by staff and three their assistance,” he said. others will be monitored by Despite the challenges video surveillance. Those of COVID-19, McLeod monitored by workers will be said, “We have created a open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. week- surplus this year. We are a days and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. non-profit and some funding Saturday and Sunday. The sources have stopped, but ballot boxes with video cam- United Way has stepped up. eras will be open 24 hours a There is light at the end of day, seven days a week. In the tunnel.” addition, all drop boxes will The Oxford Area Senior be open on primary election Center continues to partner day, May 18, until 8 p.m. with the Chester County At the May 3 council Health Department to promeeting, Jim McLeod, the vide COVID-19 vaccines in executive director at the the community. The walk-in Oxford Area Senior Center, clinic at the Oxford Area spoke before council saying, Senior Center is held every “This was a challenging year Monday from 10 a.m. until to provide services at the 1 p.m. for the foreseeable Senior Center.” future. Vaccines are adminisMcLeod explained that due tered in the order that people to the age and health issues arrive. For more informaof the clients, continuing to tion, call 610-344-6225. provide service is vital. He Other important news at thanked council for their the meeting was shared by
Mayor Phil Harris. Harris has been working with Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan to secure their involvement with the Oxford community since the death of George Floyd. Oxford Borough officials, like those in many municipalities, started working in the community to pull a group together to discuss how to handle the fallout of Floyd’s death. At that time, a group of local citizens including church members, Mayor Harris, and other concerned persons met in a group to have “Crucial Conversations.” The goal was to start a dialogue on police and race relations. The Crucial Conversations continued and Harris told council that some of the members of that group will be meeting with Ryan. The meeting is tentatively set for June 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. It will be a closed meeting, and the location of the meeting is still to be determined. Ryan and the Chester County Law Enforcement Task Force on Race and Justice have been holding meetings throughout Chester County. The mission of the task force is to improve the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement. Representing a cross-section of the county, task force members include
LTD., 17 W. Miner St., West Chester, PA 19382 5p-5-3t
Representative, 604 Highland Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335 5p-12-3t
PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME
police chiefs, police officers, community leaders, residents of color, the NAACP, social workers, and representatives from the District Attorney’s Office. Over the next year, with assistance from the task force’s partner United Way of Chester County, the plan is to host facilitated workshops in each school district to address diverse communities’ concerns through open dialogue. These challenging and honest conversations may make people uncomfortable, but the task force sees that as a necessary means to understand another perspective and lived experience. Workshops will be led by DeVon Jackson, the director of diversity and inclusion at Salesianum School in Wilmington, Del. Jackson is also the owner of Chanj Consulting, a facilitator for conversations about race. Workshops include six members of the community and six people from law enforcement. The evening begins with residents having an open discussion with each other about a particular topic while law enforcement watches and listens. Roles are then reversed, with residents listening to law enforcement’s discussion. A group dialogue about what was heard and felt concludes the evening.
The conversation won’t stop with the workshops. Community engagement activities – a movie night followed by discussion, law enforcement’s use-of-force training, panel talks, and a book club – are some of the next steps. The idea is to create opportunities for a continued face-to-face discourse between two groups who often don’t listen to or hear one another. This year’s workshops will be scheduled in Avon Grove, Downingtown, Great Valley, Kennett Consolidated, Octorara, Owen J. Roberts, Oxford, Tredyffrin/Eastown, and Twin Valley. Post-workshop participant feedback and community events will help inform the task force of the priorities for improving life in Chester County. The task force intends to share the gathered information with the public in late 2021. If you are interested in getting involved with the task force or have ideas on how they can make a difference, please email them at dacontact@chesco. org. Council also continued the discussion of the borough’s MS4 Application Program. Kent Morey from SSM presented council with a number of options going forward. DEP is waiting for the Borough to complete their
plan and present it to them. Some options may involve working with other municipalities. Depending on the options the program could have a significant price tag attached to it. Council member Mary Higgins raised some concern about the potential cost of the options that could be chosen. “Once our plan receives approval from DEP what kind of a time frame do we have with which to implement this? It is possible this will be quite expensive,” Higgins said. Morey said the borough would have five years after DEP approval to implement the plan. In other business, Public Works Supervisor John Schaible said that the spring hydrant flushing will take place through May 28 from Sunday 10 p.m. to Friday at 6 a.m. Residents and businesses may experience low water pressure and discolored water while hydrants are open. Council also announced changes in meeting dates effective in June 2021. The Codes Committee will meet on the third Monday of the month from 5 to 7 p.m. and the Environmental Committee will meet on the second Monday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m.
tious name Little Shop of Nightmares, 109 N. Church St., WEST CHESTER, PA 19380 has been filed in the Department of State at Harrisburg, PA, File Date 03/22/2021 pursuant to the Fictitious Names Act, Act 1982-295. The name and address of the person INCORPORATION who is a party to the registration is Su Frangieh, 35 Maple Lane, Coatesville, NOTICE LC EXPRESS SERVICES, INC has PA 19320. 5p-12-1t been incorporated under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Business CorporaSheriff Sale tion Law of 1988 5p-12-1t of Real Estate By virtue of the within mentioned writs ESTATE NOTICE directed to Sheriff Fredda L. Maddox, Notice is hereby given that Letters of the herein-described real estate will Administration have been granted to be sold at public sale in the Chester Kimberly Osborne, Administratrix for County Justice Center at 201 W Market the Estate of Marvin Gene Griffith, Sr., Street, 3rd Floor, Room 3300, West whose last address was West Grove, Chester, Pennsylvania, as announced Chester County, Pennsylvania. Any on Thursday, May 20th, 2021 at 11AM. person having a claim to this Estate Notice is given to all parties in interis asked to make same c/o R. Samuel est and claimants that the Sheriff will McMichael, Esquire, P.O. Box 296, file with the Prothonotary and in the Oxford, PA 19363. Sheriff’s Office, both located in the 5p-12-3t Chester County Justice Center, 201 W Market Street, West Chester, PennESTATE NOTICE sylvania, Schedules of Distribution on Estate of Barbara C. Holmes, late Monday, June 21st, 2021. Distribution of Pocopson Twp., Chester County, will be made in accordance with the Pennsylvania, deceased, NOTICE IS Schedules unless exceptions are filed HEREBY GIVEN the Under-signed has in the Sheriff’s Office within ten (10) been granted Letters Testamentary on days thereafter. the above Estate. All persons indebted to the Estate are requested to make SALE NO. 21-5-52 payment, and those with claims or Writ of Execution demands to No. 2017-01543 present them, without delay to: Lewis DEBT $56,691.49 Leroy Thompson, Esq., Executor, 7250 Heather Rd., Macungie, PA 18062 ALL THAT CERTAIN lot or parcel of 5p-12-3t land situated in the Township of FrankCounty of Chester, Commonwealth FICTITIOUS NAME REG- lin, of Pennsylvania, being more fully described in Deed dated October 10, ISTRATION An application for registration of the ficti- 2000 and recorded in the Office of the
Chester County Recorder of Deeds on October 11, 2000, in Deed Book Volume 4833 at Page 1715.
Legals ESTATE NOTICE
ESTATE OF JEROME J. McDONALD, DECEASED. Late of Oxford Borough, Chester County, PA, LETTERS TESTAMENTARY on the above Estate have been granted to the undersigned, who request all persons having claims or demands against the estate of the decedent to make known the same and all persons indebted to the decedent to make payment without delay to TIMOTHY D. McDONALD and PATRICIA M. McDONALD VALENTINE, EXECUTORS, c/o Kristen R. Matthews, Esq., 17 W. Miner St., West Chester, PA 19382, Or to their Attorney: KRISTEN R. MATTHEWS, MacELREE HARVEY,
Estate of Charles Joseph Doyle, aka Chuck J. Doyle, late of Malvern, Chester County, PA, Deceased. Notice is hereby given that, in the estate of the decedent set forth above, the Register of Wills has granted letters, testamentary or of administration to the person named. All persons having claims against the estate of the said decedent are requested to make known the same and all persons indebted to the said decedent to make payment without delay to Preva H. Doyle, Personal
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COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, CHESTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, CIVIL ACTION – NAME CHANGE NO. 2021-02318-NC, NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN on 4/9/21 that the Petition of MAURICE RUSSELL EISENHAUER, JR., was filed in the above-named Court, praying for a Decree to change Petitioner’s name to SAMANTHA LAUREN EISENHAUER. The Court has fixed 7/12/21 at 2:00 p.m., in Courtroom No. 3, Chester County Justice Center, 201 W. Market St., West Chester, PA, as the time and place for the hearing of said Petition, when and where all persons interested may appear and show cause, if any they have, why the prayer of the said Petition should not be granted. REENA U. PALANIVEL, Atty. for Petitioner, D’AMICO LAW, PC, 65 S. Third St., Oxford, PA 19363. 610.932.4555 5p-12-2021
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Tax Parcel No. 72-5-34.1 PLAINTIFF: U.S. Bank TrustNational Association, as Trustee of Dwelling Series IV Trust VS DEFENDANT: Rudy D. Arnold SALE ADDRESS:1833 New London Road, Landenberg, PA 19350 PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY: HLADIK, ONORATO & FEDERMAN, LLP 215855-9521 N.B. Ten percent (10%) of the purchase money must be paid at the time and place of sale. Payment must be paid in cash, certified check, or money order made payable to the purchaser or “Sheriff of Chester County”. The balance must be made payable to “Sheriff of Chester County” within twenty-one (21) days from the date of sale by 4PM. FREDDA L. MADDOX, SHERIFF 4p-28-3t
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WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
Chester County Press
Oxford School Board... Continued from Page 3A
tion but also mental health. I think that’s what makes me uniquely qualified for the challenges that lie ahead.” Dean, age 43, and her husband Michael have lived in Oxford Borough for nearly 14 years. She is in her fourth year on the school board, where she is serving in an at-large position, but now she is running for a position as a Region 1 representative. She has cross-filed. “I felt that, since I am very involved with the kids and families in my immediate neighborhood, it was a better fit for me to represent those constituents. I’m not sure how much it will affect how I represent, but it will affect where I place my time and attention while campaigning,” Dean said. “Eric Owens and I have discussed having to run against each other and we know it’s less than ideal, but we both agree the upside is that a good school board member will represent Region 1.” A graduate of Grove City College in 2000 with a degree in business management, she has been a job coach for a young lady with Autism for the last 15 years. “I have taken the last year off in order to develop and run a free learning pod for some of the children in the Oxford Area School District. These seven children, ranging in age from 7 to 16, have done amazingly well, and it’s been one of the joys of my life to help them,” she said. Dean is involved in the community and has been a weekly volunteer at the Lighthouse Youth Center for the past eight years. She has enjoyed her time on the school board thus far. “It has been a very positive experience for me for two main reasons,” she explained. “First,
the other board members are great and they do truly care about serving the community. Second, I feel that I am able to make positive contributions, particularly from a financial standpoint. My analytical mind is able to understand the financial aspects of the position and I enjoy thinking through various scenarios to ensure we are being wise as we create our budget each year.” When asked about issues facing the school board, Dean responded that a particularly important issue for the board involves parent and student confidence. “An increase in confidence will lead to a decrease in students switching to charter schools, which will result in decreased costs for the district,” she said. “There are many facets to this issue. Some of these include legislative reform, continuously evaluating and improving the curricular options for students, improving communication with stakeholders, and making sure students are thriving academically, socially and emotionally.” Dean added, “Something else that is very important to me is being a good steward of our resources. The people in our district work hard and we, as the board, must be wise as we spend this money. I do think we are on the right track as a district, but there is always room for improvement.” Should she win another term. Dean would like to continue to improve how the board communicates with stakeholders. “I want to continually evaluate our budget to ensure we are spending in the wisest manner possible,” she said. “I would like people to know that I really appreciate our community. I want to ensure that we raise young people who are willing and able to give back to the community that has served them so well. And I am glad to invest the time and energy necessary to help bring this to
fruition.” In Region 2, comprised of West Nottingham, Lower Oxford West and Oxford Borough West, William Kloss has cross-filed, while Amy Jones is seeking the democratic nomination. Jones, age 40, is a graphic designer and an Oxford graduate. After attending Kutztown University, she and her husband, who is also an Oxford graduate, decided to stay in the Oxford area to raise their family. They have two sons, ages 6 and 9, who are students in the district. This is her first time seeking public office. “I saw there was a need and a space for a Democrat to run,” she said. “This might be a way I can contribute and maybe I can win the seat. I am interested in education. I believe in public education strongly as it contributes to equality. When you have a good public education, I think you can do a lot with your life.” Jones sees her experience in Oxford schools as a student and as a mother as her strongest qualifications for the school board. “That knowledge of going through the school district, that’s really helpful, and now that I have two children, and they’re in the school district as well, I have a pretty good idea of what it’s like to be a student, both then and now. I think I could help building toward opportunities for my
children and all our children, my perspective would be valuable.” Jones would most like to be a part of the board conversation as issues arise, contribute her perspective to the conversation, and help in the decision-making process. “I’m strongly invested in our school district and I want all of our children to succeed,” she said. Kloss, age 38, has crossfiled. He served on the Octorara Area School Board until he moved from that school district. He is now bringing his experience to his new district as a potential school board member. He served for three years on the Octorara School Board before resigning in April of 2020 to move to the Oxford area. “I was just starting to get a rhythm and understanding of the needs of a board member,” Kloss said. “I feel like there’s a lot of the things I learned in Octorara that I can apply in Oxford.” Employed in marketing for Wawa with an MBA from Delaware Valley College, Kloss comes from a family closely involved in education. He is very involved in his church, having served as a deacon at Penningtonville Presbyterian, and also served on the Atglen Borough Zoning Hearing Board. The Klosses have been a foster family for over four
years, and they have adopted three of their children from the program. “We have an understanding of children with special needs and those affected by trauma,” he said. Five of the Kloss family’s six children will be attending Oxford schools this coming school year, with a child in every building except the middle school. One of his major concerns is the return to school after COVID-19, and how to help children who have been impacted the most. “I’m worried there could be a cohort of students that have been impacted for the long term,” he said. Kloss feels it is important to communicate with teachers and the administration to identify the long-term effects of COVID-19 and address them as soon as possible. “We’re not going to have time to wait years to get test scores back. We’re going to have to work quickly as teachers start to see trends,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting time as wee come out of this.” Another concern related to the pandemic is the number of students that may have opted for online charter schools, and the financial impact that goes along with it. “Those are lost tax dollars that put a strain on the district.” On the issue of taxes, Kloss wants to address today’s needs while the district to prepares for the future and future fund-
ing requirements. Having school board experience, Kloss understands that it will take time as a new member to learn all the issues. “I want to make sure we’re aligned on correct priorities. I want to know how I can work with this board and administration coming out of Covid to align with those needs and address them,” he said. In Region 3, which covers Elk and East Nottingham townships, incumbent Jenifer Warren and challenger Michael Blessington have both cross-filed. Blessington has been unavailable to campaign due to the impact of COVID19 on his entire household. Blessington was admitted to Jennersville Hospital on March 29 and spent 17 days on a ventilator, followed up by rehab until his release on May 10. “I’m very lucky to be alive,” he said. Blessington is an insurance agent specializing in Medicare policies. The Blessingtons have been married 29 years and have two daughters adopted from China in 1997 and 2000. Both girls are graduates of the Oxford Area School District. Their success at Oxford is one of Blessington’s motivations for running for a position on the school board, where he hopes to maintain the high quality education of the school district. Continued on page 2B
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Chester County Press
In the Spotlight
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
LI V IN G H IS TORY
by Gene Pisasale
The mushroom industry is Chester County’s leading crop—and a survivor By Gene Pisasale Contributing Writer A type of fungus which has both culinary and health benefits has grown for many centuries around the globe. The Chinese ate mushrooms back in the 12th century and the Romans thought they were the food of the gods. It is believed the Egyptians assigned mushrooms magical powers and allowed only the Pharaohs to eat them. Mushrooms occur in thousands of varieties in the wild throughout many regions of the world, but the types which diners see on their plates number less than a dozen. Being so popular as a side dish over the years, they’ve grown into a much-desired part of offerings created by the nation’s top restaurants. Chef Julia Child once said, “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to
cook.” Mushrooms go quite nicely with that item. Child used mushrooms in many of her delicious offerings. Agaricus bisporus, the mushroom that many people recognize, is the most common type served in the U.S. and Europe. Mushrooms come in numerous varieties: white, button, champignon, Swiss brown, chestnut, baby bella and several others. Cultivated for human consumption in more than 70 countries, the popularity of mushrooms is strongest in Asia, where it commands a significant percentage of overall agricultural production. Taxonomy of this tasty morsel is a bit complicated. Described by English botanist Mordecai Cooke in 1871 in his Handbook of British Fungi, it has been named and re-named over the past century to its present nomenclature. You may think that “the
Photo courtesy Mark Rutt of Design Design for American Mushroom Institute
White mushrooms are the most popular kind of mushroom.
Cremini and Portobello Mushrooms.
fungus among us” was just something you joked about in science class, but today mushrooms are big business. Visitors to Kennett Square know it as “the Mushroom Capital of the World” for good reason. This area of southern Chester County produces roughly half of all the mushrooms grown in the U.S. How did this local industry get started? You have to go back to the 1880s. Carnation grower William Swayne was trying to find a use for unplanted space in his greenhouses and decided to start cultivating mushrooms. Over the ensuing years, he and others recognized that it could become a cash crop. They hired mostly Italians to do much of the physical labor. Some of the Italians subsequently started their own farms and eventually became major mushroom growers themselves. By the 1950s, mushroom farming became a significant local business and the Italians began expanding their operations, later bringing in migrant labor, mostly from Mexico to take over the physical duties. Today Pennsylvania holds the number one rank nationwide in mushroom production, although other states, including California, generate significant volumes. Canada is also a mushroom producer. Aside from button, crimini and portabella types which are enormously popular, in recent years specialty mushrooms like Shiitake, oyster and Maitake varieties have come to the forefront. Mushrooms are not only delicious in soups and with beef, they have beneficial health properties like being non-fat, high in fiber and B-vitamins. Some even offer immune system support—characteristics which have been highlighted in scholarly publications and consumer media. The American Mushroom Institute (AMI) based in
Photo courtesy Mark Rutt of Design Design for American Mushroom Institute
Brown mushrooms are pictured growing in soil.
Avondale, is a trade organization which represents growers, processors and marketers of mushrooms in the U.S. AMI president Rachel Roberts and Lori Harrison, the director of communications for the organization, provided a wealth of information for this article. There are many local growers, including To-Jo, Basciani, Giorgio, Mother Earth and others. Phillips Mushrooms in Kennett Square is the largest producer of specialty mushrooms in the country, offering Shiitake, Maitake, oyster, Beech, Royal Trumpet and other varieties, including organic mushrooms. They even have a mushroom store called The Woodlands, bringing shoppers a wide array of fresh-picked offerings. One of the largest mushroom growers in North America, South Mill Champs, has deep roots in the community. Its operations date back to 1932 when the Pia family at Kaolin Mushrooms started offering products to the region. Offices are here in southern Chester County. The present-day company was formed through a merger of locally based South Mill and Champs, based in British Columbia. Consolidation and scale may be the keys to industry survival. They’re planning
Kennett Square is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World.
to build a large facility in nearby Elk Township. With disruptions on businesses caused by the coronavirus, one might wonder how the mushroom industry is doing these days. The most notable negative impact on sales was for food service enterprises supplying restaurants and schools across the country, many of which sharply curtailed operations over the past year. Growers who focused mostly on those markets likely saw sharp declines in volumes; statistics by company are not available. The USDA announced that overall year-to-year industry volumes decreased by roughly 4 percent through June 30, 2020 for Agaricus producers in Chester County. Those mushroom companies that
Photo courtesy Mark Rutt of Design Design for American Mushroom Institute
There are many mushroom houses in southern Chester County.
are focused on the retail or supermarket sector likely had somewhat steadier sales due to people cooking more meals at home. Because mushrooms are so versatile—widely used as a great side dish and equally tasty as part of other entrees— the overall industry appears to have weathered the storm reasonably well. So, remember, if you’re about to cook steaks, chicken or turkey, make some soup or even an all-vegetarian meal, mushrooms can be a perfect addition to your dinner table. Gene Pisasale is an historian and author based in Kennett Square. He has written ten books and conducts an historic lecture series throughout the region. His latest book is “Forgotten Founding Fathers: Pennsylvania and Delaware in the American Revolution.” His books are available on www.Amazon. com and through his website at www.GenePisasale. com. He can be reached via e-mail at Gene@ GenePisasale.com.
A Roman mosaic of mushrooms from 350 B.C.
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Primary Voters’ Guide Oxford School Board... Continued from Page 9A
“I want a fair shake for the kids - I want them learning the basics. I want to continue what they did with my daughters, who both graduated in the top 20. I think it’s an excellent school,” Blessington said. “They did a great job for my kids. I don’t want to see it change. I don’t want it going backwards.” Blessington sees a need for a school climate that supports education. “I’d like to get rid of some of the political correctness. Some of it’s very good. We have to be polite to each other, we have to be nice to each other, we need to understand, we have to open up the conversation. We can’t be 100 percent adversarial,” he said. “That’s what I want to bring into high school education. I want the kids to feel free to speak their minds.” He also supports a strong foundation for education. “I like to keep the classics, I don’t want them messing around with the math, I don’t want them messing around with the authors, I don’t want them messing around with history. I think history, what our country did for the last 200 years, is important. We have to see where we’ve come from and where we’re going,” he said. Blessington was elected to the position of township auditor for East Nottingham in 2019 and has been a Republican committeeman for over 10 years. Now, Blessington hopes to serve the community through
the school board. “I think I’m fair minded. I think I’m a reasonable person to deal with. I think I could help make some great decisions here in the future,” he said. Warren is running for a second term on the school board. She has work experience in libraries and supporting her husband’s engineering company as his office manager. She has lived in the Oxford area for the past 17 years and has two children who have attended the district’s schools. “Now that my children are older … the time seems right,” Warren said. “I’m a firm believer in public schools. They make the community stronger, whether you have children in the district or not.” At the school board reorganization in December, Warren was elected to the position of vice president. “I have a good working relationship with all the current board members,” she said. “I do feel like I’m making a difference, and that's one of the reasons I ran to make a difference in my community.” Warren has cross-filed. She noted how some school boards tend to split along party lines, but that does not seem to be a factor in Oxford. “I don’t think it’s a partisan position,” she said. “This is a nonpartisan position which is why we can cross-file. I do have support on both sides.” One of Warren’s accomplishments that she is most proud of is the new superintendent evaluation system. Warren chaired the committee for revising the system. The new version was presented for review at the May work ses-
Dr. Eric Owens
sion and is up for possible approval at the regular school board meeting in May. She explained, “We have re-done the superintendent evaluation, the rubric, the evaluation tool and also the time line for the process. That was a suggestion I made to the board president about a year ago. Enough board members were frustrated with the tool we were using. That’s something I’m most proud of. I’d like to get back on the board because we won’t be using it this year.” Warren sees the budget as one of the most challenging issues for the district. “The fund balance had gotten to a point where we needed to work it down, and that allowed us to keep taxes low. We were consciously doing that, but that was not sustainable. At some point you get to where your fund balance is too low. We’re there,” she said. “We’ve got to find where we can cut, but that’s not going to make up for the shortfall alone. Over the next two or three years, how do we close that gap?” Related to finances, Warren would like to see fewer district students opting for charter schools.
“For some people, they are going to find that’s the best solution for their child, but that money just flows out of our district. The funding formula is not fair. If you have special education children going to charter schools, it’s even more lopsided,” she said. “Public
schools have not had to compete. Now, there’s so many choices, we need to compete. We have a very good educational product, but I don't think we market ourselves.” Warren points out that she is very active on the school board and she has the time available
to commit to the work, and to listen to the community. “You need to be able to have that time and energy,” she said. “I will work really hard to get people the answers they need. I want to hear from the community. I have never tried to hide from anybody.”
TRUSTED. PROVEN. FISCALLY DISCIPLINED. 3 Fiscally responsible and proven at keeping a close eye on spending in the district to protect taxpayers and homeowners
3 Working to improve communication between the Board, administrators, teachers, parents and taxpayers
3 Spearheaded the revision of the evaluation tool to hold senior administrators responsible in a clear and transparent way
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Voters will decide which school board candidates move on to General Election When the Pennsylvania Primary Election takes place on Tuesday, May 18, voters will decide which school board candidates move on to the General Election in November. School board members serve four-year terms. In the Avon Grove School District, there are four seats up for election this year—two in Region I, one in Region II, and one in Region III. Four people—Bruce Belcher, Ruchira Singh, Lynn Weber, and Mike Woodin—cross-filed in Region I. In Pennsylvania, school board candidates are permitted to simultane-
ously seek the nominations of both the Republican and Democratic parties. In Region II, Christina Manolescu has cross-filed for a seat on the school board. In Region III, incumbent Bill Wood is seeking another term, while Michael Bruecks is looking to join the board for the first time. Both have cross-filed. There are four seats on the Kennett School Board up for election in this cycle—one in Region A, one in Region B, and two in Region C. Ethan Cramer is seeking the Democratic nomination in Region A. He currently serves on Kennett Square Borough Council. In Region B, current school board member
Jeff McVey has cross-filed in a bid to win a fouryear term. Incumbent Vicki Gehrt, the current board vice president, has crossfiled in Region C, while Mark Bowden is seeking the nomination on the Democratic side. In the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, there are two seats in Region A and two seats in Region B that are up for election. Jeff Hellrung and Elise Anderson, both incumbents, have cross-filed in Region A. Three people—incumbent Steven Simonson, Ken Kumar, and Mabel You—have crossfiled in Region B.
3 Protect taxpayers and seniors by maintaining ZERO municipal property taxes and ensuring a $1 million rainy day fund
3 Restore transparency and open government with live-streamed meetings, increased Facebook communication and improved website function
3 Repair lines of communication between residents and local government to sensibly address problems and concerns
TUESDAY, MAY 18TH VOTE FOR GREAT LOCAL GOVERNMENT /ShelleyforENT Paid for by Oxford Good Gov’t Committee
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
Primary Voters’ Guide
of Chester County
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CHESTER COUNTY LWVCC, P.O. Box 62, Exton, PA 19341 Telephone (610) 644-5960 www.lwvccpa.org
Non-Partisan Voters’ Guide PA State and County Political Candidates and 4 Ballot Questions Primary Election 2021 Tuesday, May 18, 2021 Polls shall remain open continuously between the hours of: 7:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. *If you plan to vote in person, due to the Coronavirus pandemic please check with Chester County Voter Services to confirm your polling place will be open on May 18th Note to Voters: For the Primary Election only Candidates registered to your political party and Candidates who have cross-filed will appear on your party’s ballot. Only Democrats and Republicans can vote for Candidates on their ballot, but ALL registered Voters can vote on the Ballot questions. Election Day Problems? Call one of these hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español) (1-888-839-8682)
1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance) (1-888-274-8683)
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Chester County Voter Services https://www.chesco.org/156/Voter-Services 610-344-6410 The League of Women Voters of Chester County is a nonpartisan organization whose purpose is to serve the local community by promoting informed active citizen participation in government and by acting on selected governmental issues. The League does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.
Ballot Questions PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1 TERMINATION OR EXTENSION OF DISASTER EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval? If you vote YES, you agree to give the Legislature, by a simple majority vote, the sole power to take away the Governor’s existing authority to make disaster emergency declarations and coordinate with relevant Pennsylvania agencies. If you vote NO, you disagree with giving the Legislature, by a simple majority vote, the sole power to take away the Governor’s existing authority to make disaster emergency declarations and coordinate with relevant Pennsylvania agencies. Background on proposed amendment: This amendment arises from the conflict between the Governor and Legislature over the Governor’s Covid-19 emergency declarations, including stay-athome orders, school and business restrictions, etc. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that under current law, the Governor could veto the Legislature’s concurrent resolution to end the Governor’s emergency declaration. The Legislature then fell short of the two-thirds legislative vote required to overturn the veto. Background on legislative procedure: Currently, under Article III, Section 9, all bills and concurrent resolutions by the General Assembly must be presented to the Governor for his approval or veto. If approved by the Governor, the bills or concurrent resolutions, become law. If the Governor exercises a veto, the bills or concurrent resolutions do not become law unless two-thirds of the House and Senate vote to override the Governor’s veto. The proposed amendment with respect to emergency disaster declarations would create a fourth exception to the customary legislative procedure of a two-thirds legislative vote to override a Governor’s veto. Other: Only four states currently require a legislative vote to extend or terminate a governor’s emergency declarations (Alaska, Kansas, Michigan and Minnesota). Arguments FOR: • Strengthens legislative power to end or continue an emergency declaration • Weakens the Governor’s powers during an emergency to extend declaration and coordinate with relevant PA agencies • Disperses authority for creating and ending a disaster emergency declaration • Removes customary legislative procedure requiring a two-thirds legislative vote to override a Governor’s veto for emergency declarations
Arguments AGAINST: • Reduces executive power of an individual elected by entire state to act in an emergency and coordinate with relevant PA agencies • Increases impact of partisan and regional influence of legislators during an emergency situation • Creates logistical and administrative hurdles for overseeing disasters and coordinating relevant agencies • Maintains check and balance of the two-thirds legislative vote to override a Governor’s veto
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 2 DISASTER EMERGENCY DECLARATION AND MANAGEMENT Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management? If you vote Yes, you agree to change existing law to limit any Governor’s disaster emergency declaration - no matter the severity - to 21 days (from 90), unless, and until, the Legislature votes by a simple majority to extend the disaster emergency declaration; and take away the Governor’s authority to manage new emergency and disaster situations beyond 21 days. If you vote No, you disagree with changing the existing law that provides any Governor with the power to issue emergency declarations without a 21-day limitation or a simple majority vote by the Legislature; and any Governor retains authority to act in emergency and disaster situations. Background on proposed amendment: This amendment arises from the conflict between the Governor and Legislature over the Governor’s Covid-19 emergency declarations, including stayat-home orders, school and business restrictions, etc. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that under current law, the Governor could veto the Legislature’s concurrent resolution to end the Governor’s emergency declaration. The Legislature then fell short of the two-thirds legislative vote required to overturn the veto. Current law sets an emergency declaration at 90 days and gives the Governor authority to act on, and manage, emergencies and disasters. The Legislature does have the ability to end the Governor’s emergency declarations by passing a concurrent resolution to end the emergency declaration and if vetoed by the Governor, vote by two-thirds to override the Governor’s veto. Other: Only four states currently require a legislative vote to extend or terminate a governor’s emergency declarations (Alaska, Kansas, Michigan and Minnesota). Arguments FOR: • Grants the legislature, elected from different districts throughout the Commonwealth, the sole power to manage a disaster • Limits an emergency declaration to 21 days (from 90) unless legislature extends by a simple majority • Removes customary legislative procedural requirement of a two-thirds legislative vote to override a Governor’s disaster declaration • Provides sole authority to extend a declaration to lie with the Legislature; presently, this power rests with the Governor
Arguments AGAINST: • Creates logistical and administrative hurdles of convening a 253-member legislature, every 21 days (and in disaster conditions) • Reduces the power of the executive, elected by entire state, to act in an emergency • Increases impact of partisan and regional influence of legislators • Provides opportunities for possible delays that could worsen a disaster • Weakens ability to access federal funding and support tied to declaring emergency disasters • Promotes uncertainty of appropriate disaster response due to shortened timeframe
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Primary Voters’ Guide PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 3 PROHIBITION AGAINST DENIAL OR ABRIDGEMENT OF EQUALITY OF RIGHTS BECAUSE OF RACE OR ETHNICITY Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended by adding a new section providing that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of an individual’s race or ethnicity? If you vote Yes, you agree that all levels of Pennsylvania government, entities, and institutions be prohibited from discriminating against individuals because of their race or ethnicity. If you vote No, you disagree with changing Pennsylvania law since current state and federal laws, including the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, already provide protections against discrimination by all levels of Pennsylvania government, entities, and institutions. Background on proposed amendment: This constitutional amendment was introduced in the wake of police brutality cases and protests as an amendment to a different constitutional amendment bill to restrict a Governor’s emergency declaration powers (See Ballot Question 1). Article 1, Section 26, of the PA Constitution currently prohibits discrimination by the Pennsylvania government “against any person in the exercise of any civil right.” This proposed amendment focuses on protecting individuals from racial and ethnic discrimination by Pennsylvania governmental entities. The PA Constitution and federal laws, such as the Equal Protection Clause, provide broad protections against discrimination. However, this amendment focuses on prohibiting discrimination against the individual under PA law solely for race and ethnicity. This is a state-specific change separate from federal law (Fourteenth Amendment). If passed, this law could add opportunity to bring “reverse discrimination” cases. Thus, if a Caucasian person felt they were discriminated against by a State-run operation or agency in hiring, admissions, or denied opportunities, they could sue under this new law. The language of this amendment does not outright ban racial and ethnic considerations by all levels of Pennsylvania government, entities, and institutions. However, it could be construed that the specific prohibition against individual racial and ethnic discrimination could open the door to elimination, or the support of, race and ethnic-conscious considerations by State-run agencies or operations for under-represented groups under Pennsylvania Law. Any interpretation of this law would be decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. However, if passed, any resulting consequences, good or bad, would likely be upheld because this is an amendment ballot question voted on by the Pennsylvania voters. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Michigan ballot initiative which resulted in a ban on race considerations in state-run schools because the case was not about the merits of race-conscious policies. Rather, as Justice Kennedy stressed in the controlling opinion, it is about “whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in governmental decisions...” Arguments FOR: • Promotes states’ rights - independent of the US Constitution and federal laws • Specifies the prohibition against individual racial and ethnic discrimination under PA law • Could eliminate preferential treatment to under-represented groups by all levels of PA government, entities, and institutions • Prohibits future legislation that is inconsistent with this law on protecting individuals from racial and ethnic discrimination by all levels of PA government, entities, and institutions
Arguments AGAINST: • Adds opportunities to bring “reverse discrimination” cases (i.e., a Caucasian can claim race discrimination by all levels of PA government, entities, and institutions) • Provides potential opportunity for all levels of PA government, entities, and institutions to no longer consider race and ethnicity in hiring, admissions, contracting and access to other opportunities • Existing law in the PA Constitution already forbids discrimination “against any person in the exercise of any civil right”
STATEWIDE REFERENDUM – ACT 2020-91 MAKING MUNICIPAL FIRE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES COMPANIES ELIGIBLE FOR LOANS
Do you favor expanding the use of the indebtedness authorized under the referendum for loans to volunteer fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads under 35 PA.C.S. §7378.1 (related to referendum for additional indebtedness) to include loans to municipal fire departments or companies that provide services through paid personnel and emergency medical services companies for the purpose of establishing and modernizing facilities to house apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, and for purchasing apparatus equipment, ambulances and rescue vehicles, protective and communications equipment and any other accessory equipment necessary for the proper performance of the duties of the fire companies and emergency medical services companies? If you vote YES, you support expanding PA’s loan program to paid municipal, as well as volunteer, fire and emergency medical services companies. If you vote NO, you support keeping PA’s loan program available to volunteer fire and emergency medical service companies and not to paid municipal fire and emergency medical services companies. Background: This constitutional amendment was referred to the ballot as an exception to the normal procedure for passing constitutional amendments. “When a major emergency threatens or is about to threaten the state” the General Assembly may refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot with a two-thirds vote of each chamber. Specifically, here, the General Assembly determined there is a need for paid municipal fire departments and emergency medical service companies to update their facilities and equipment. Under current PA law, only volunteer fire and EMS companies are authorized to apply for loans from this program. The loan program’s fund for volunteer companies was last approved by PA voters at $50,000,000 in 2002. If approved, this new law would allow paid municipal fire and emergency medical service companies to also obtain loans from the program. The State Fire Commissioner administers these loans under specified codes and regulations. This bill does not expand the amount of money in the funds nor the purposes for which the loans can be used, it only addresses expanding the eligible pool of loan applicants. Arguments FOR: • Provides opportunities for paid municipal fire and EMS companies to apply for loans to upgrade and replace equipment and facilities • Increases potential for budget flexibility for municipalities to shift facility and equipment costs to personnel and other costs • Promotes paid municipalities to upgrade and/or replace fire and EMS equipment and facilities
Arguments AGAINST: • Increases applicant pool, and thus, the acceptance rate, for loans to upgrade and replace existing equipment and facilities for volunteer companies while not increasing the overall fixed amount of funds • Potentially increases already existing budget constraints and recruitment of volunteer fire and EMS companies • Expands existing oversight and demands on the State Fire Commissioner that administers and grants loans
STATE JUDICIAL RACES Pennsylvania Justice of the Supreme Court Description of office: The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court in the Commonwealth and the oldest appellate court in the nation. The Supreme Court’s administrative powers and jurisdictional responsibilities are vested with the seven-member court by the Pennsylvania State Constitution and a collection of statutes known as the Judicial Code. The justice with the longest continuous service on the Supreme Court automatically becomes chief justice. Administratively, the courts within the Unified Judicial System are largely responsible for organizing their own staff and dockets; however, the Supreme Court has several committees and boards responsible for writing and enforcing rules for judges, attorneys, and litigants to ensure an efficient and fair judicial review. Annually, the seven justices receive over 3,000 requests for appellate review. Term: 10 years Salary: $215,037 Vote for ONE.
Maria McLaughlin Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Philadelphia Mailing Address: P.O. Box 15943 Philadelphia, PA 19103 Education: Penn State 1988. Delaware Law School at Widener University 1992 Qualifications: Current Judge on our PA Superior Court; Served 6 years as Judge, Court of Common Pleas; Chief and ADA, Phila District Attorneys Office; Rated Highly Recommended for the Supreme Court by the PBA campaign website: http://judgemclaughlin.com Facebook: http://@Maria4PASC Twitter: http://@McLaughlin4PASC Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: Along with being our highest appellate court, The Supreme Court overseas our statewide court system and legal community. As such we have the opportunity to set rules, educate the legal community and create special court programs dealing with human services issues like substance abuse & mental health challenges, veteran’s issues & initiatives focused on autism. All geared toward providing fair treatment and equal access for people with unique circumstances. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: As a lawyer & a judge I have always worked to ensure everyone who comes into a courtroom has an opportunity to be heard and the law applied without bias. This is the cornerstone of our legal system. As a Justice I will not waiver from that driving principle. My work on the bench and in my life will always reflect my dedication to fairness and equality.
Paula Patrick Party: Rep Biographical Info: County: Philadelphia Mailing Address: 481 City Hall PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania 19151 Education: Bennett College Greensboro, NC Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law Houston, TX Qualifications: 18 years Trial Judge experience; Legal teaching experience; Frequent presenter/lecturer on legal topics; Highly Recommended by the Pa Bar Assoc. campaign website: http://Votepaulapatrick.com Facebook: http://@Judge Paula Patrick Twitter: http://@JudgePatrickPA
Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: On the Bench-A judge should ensure that people have access to our courts and adequate legal representation. A judge should also be patient with pro se litigants during court proceedings. A judge must also ensure that any and all available resources provided within the court system by distributed to all people equally. Off the Bench-A judge should get involved in assisting with community, social, professional and/or religious groups to help assist with programs that provided equal access to justice. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: On The Bench-I think the best thing that a judge can do to ensure a fair and equitable court is to follow the law. Our rule of law and our Constitutions are important because they are the foundation of our democracy. If a nation fails to honor its own laws, then we fail as a society. Off The Bench-A judge should be involved in community service and willing to educate people about their rights and responsibilities under the law when appropriate.
Kevin Brobson Party: Rep Biographical Info: County: Dauphin Mailing Address: P.O. Box 11683 Harrisburg, PA 17108 Education: Widener Commonwealth Law School, summa cum laude (2nd in class), Managing Editor Law Review; Lycoming College (B.A., Accounting/Economics), magna cum laude Qualifications: President Judge of the Pa. Commonwealth Court; over 11 years as statewide appellate court judge (elected 2009, retained 2019); Pa. Judicial Conduct Board, 201519 (Chair); 14 years’ private practice; former federal judicial clerk; “Highly Recommended” by Pa. Bar Association campaign website: http://www.brobsonforpa.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Kevin-Brobson-for-PA-112608997531221 Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: I would work cooperatively with the governor and the legislature to increase funding for legal aid programs. While in private practice, I created a program in Dauphin County to expand pro bono opportunities for lawyers to provide services to nonprofit organizations. I would encourage county bar associations to think creatively about expanding pro bono service to small and minority-owned businesses and nonprofits. I want to ensure our courts have access to interpreters for parties with limited English proficiency. I would build upon the excellent work of Philadelphia Legal Assistance with respect to the representation of low-wage workers and the unemployed by engaging law schools and other legal aid associations throughout the state. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: I believe I have earned a reputation as a fair and impartial arbiter of the law. I treat everyone who enters my courtroom, or has a matter before me, with equal respect and dignity. I strive to appreciate the perspectives and points of view of all parties. It is important to me that every litigant, represented and unrepresented, be given every opportunity, within the rules and the law, to present their case. Moreover, as a former Chair of the Pa. Judicial Conduct Board, I am keenly aware of how important it is to Pennsylvanians that our judges observe the highest ethical standards on and off the bench. I hold myself to this high standard. All Pennsylvanians deserve to have faith in a fair and impartial judiciary.
Patricia A. McCullough Party: Rep Biographical Info: County: Allegheny Mailing Address: P.O. Box 12971 Upper St Clair, Pittsburgh , PA 15241 Education: University of Pittsburgh -BA University of Pittsburgh School of Law- JD
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
Primary Voters’ Guide Qualifications: Currently Judge- PA Commonwealth Court over 11 yrs. where I rule on issues that are brought before PA Supreme Court; trial judge, Allegheny County Ct. of Common Pleas; Asst.General Counsel, Univ. of Pgh.;private practice attorney; Director Cath. Char; chair,Allegheny Cty.Bd.Prop.Appeals;Chair ACPRC. campaign website: http://Patriciaforjustice.com Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: As judge and in career, I work with programs that promote restorative and equal justice. The foundational precepts of One Nation under God,”... with liberty and justice for all” must be ensured. I have volunteered: as instructor/faith-based jail program which reduces recidivism to 8-12%; with at-risk youth programs; to help implement residential drug addiction center; to help implement free legal speaker series for those released from incarceration; Chr./App. Ct Proc. Rules Committee/ system more user friendly; cmte.law students to represent pro se parties in UC; educate public to process; cmte./Human trafficking diversion ct. I will fight for openness of all courts for those in need or wronged by the justice system. Art.I,sec.11 Pa,Const. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: I abide by oath to be fair and impartial and uphold rule of law and Constitutions of PA and USA. To ensure impartiality I did not take money donations from attys. or pacs when I ran for judge of Commonwealth Ct. of PA and I am not taking them for Supreme Ct of PA. I did not take controversial 2005 pay raise and for first 10 yr term on Cmwlth.Ct. gave mthly checks to state treasurer due to pay raise totaling over $10,000.00 dollars of after tax money returned to treasurer. Sentencing practices must be fair and transparent, not disproportionate; vIctims treated with dignity; implement faith-based programs that holistically address underlying issues (e.g. addiction,abuse,anger). I will uphold justice and oppose partisanship or abuse in system
Pennsylvania Judge of the Superior Court Description of office: The Superior Court is one of Pennsylvania’s two statewide intermediate appellate courts. This court, established in 1895, reviews most of the civil and criminal cases that are appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas in the Commonwealth’s 67 counties. The Superior Court consists of 15 judges. The president judge is elected to a five-year term by his/her colleagues. A large number of appeals flow to the Superior Court from the trial courts. Generally, appeals are heard by panels of three judges sitting in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, or Pittsburgh. The court often is the final arbiter of legal disputes. Although the Supreme Court may grant a petition for review of a Superior Court decision, most petitions are denied, and the ruling of the Superior Court stands. Term: 10 years Salary: $202,898 Vote for ONE.
Jill Beck Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Allegheny Mailing Address: PO Box 81583 Pittsburgh, PA 15217 Education: I graduated cum laude from The George Washington University with my bachelors degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology. I then graduated cum laude from Duquesne University School of Law, where I was an editor of the Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Board. Qualifications: Spent 10 years in the Superior & Supreme Court chambers of Christine Donohue, where I drafted over 500 decisions; represented clients in every area of the law that the Superior Court hears and in that Court itself; highly recommended by the ACBA and recommended by the PBA for the Superior Court. campaign website: http://www.JillBeck.com Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/electjillbeck Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/electjillbeck Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: On the bench, a Superior Court Judge must provide a full, fair, & thorough review of every case that comes before her. The role requires a careful balancing of error correction through the appropriate lens & deference to the court below, without serving as a rubberstamp for any interest. A judge must also be decisive and efficient -- litigants should not be required to wait years for a decision on whether they will be free from incarceration, able to continue in their livelihood, or able to obtain custody of their children. Off the bench, a judge can educate the public about Pennsylvania’s judicial system, their rights and responsibilities when coming before the courts, & the courts’ reciprocal responsibilities to the public. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: When providing a full & thorough review of every case, the judge must treat all litigants fairly & equally, regardless of the parties’ race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual preference, disability, or wealth. All persons are entitled to a fair consideration of their case, no matter who they are or what they are alleged to have done, & the writing deciding the appeal should reflect this. A judge should not be impatient or impertinent in her written decision, as this is indicative of a failure to treat those involved & the issues raised with the dignity and respect they deserve. All judges should also participate in implicit bias training to learn what it is, the role it plays in decision making, & tools to combat it.
Timika Lane Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Philadelphia Mailing Address: 647 W Union st Whitehall, PA 18052 Education: West Catholic High School and went on to graduate Howard University in Washington DC & received my Law Degree in 2002 from Rutgers University School of Law in NJ. Qualifications: Major Trials Judge presiding over 1000’s of trials, authoring 100’s of opinions. I handle all human trafficking cases & many of the most serious criminal cases & Grand Jury matters. Certified Child Advocate & as former Exec Dir of the Senate Govt Cmte advised on the constitutionality of legislation campaign website: http://www.judgelane.com Facebook: http://@LaneforSuperiorCourt Twitter: http://@JudgeTimikaLane Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: As a sitting Judge, I ensure everyone in my courtroom is treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, gender, creed, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. As a member of the Access to Justice Committee, we address this issue by looking at possible barriers and how to remove those barriers to ensure everyone has equal access. As co-chair of the Local Criminal Rules Committee we recommend the qualifications for court appointed attorneys to make sure that indigent people have capable legal representation. We ensure that the local criminal rules are fair and applied equally to all who all who come before our courts. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: The Superior Court is an error correcting court & often the last line of defense for the parties involved in a case. When reviewing an appeal It is vital the appellate judge have strong courtroom experience on both sides of the bench to best determine the if the proceedings in the lower court were fair, all parties were heard and the law has been applied fairly regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or economic status. I will ensure equity and fairness in all cases before me, just as I do for all who appear in my current courtroom. Off the bench, I believe judges should be visible in the community. We are public servants and it is our duty to make sure the public understands how the court system functions.
Bryan Neft Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Allegheny Mailing Address: PO Box 13104 Pittsburgh, PA 15243 Education: Boston University School of Law J.D., May 1989 Note, Debt-Equity Exchange Programs in Developing Nations. University Of Pennsylvania B.A., May 1986 Major: Political Science Shady Side Academy H.S., June 1982 Qualifications: Bryan has spent more than 30 years litigating and trying cases, and counseling clients throughout Pennsylvania. Bryan also served for nearly 15 years in leadership roles with the Allegheny County Bar Association and Supreme court IOLTA board. campaign website: http://bryanneft.com Facebook: http://facebook.com/bryanneft Twitter: http://twitter.com/bryanneft Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: Access to Justice, to me, means ensuring that everyone who needs to utilize the courts has the ability to do so through legal services and other means designed to help them pursue claims or defenses. My leadership and hard work in the Allegheny County Bar Association and Allegheny County Bar Foundation led The Pennsylvania Supreme Court to appoint me to The Pennsylvania IOLTA Board, its charitable arm that oversees state funding of legal services to those who cannot afford them. I was appointed chair of the board in 2014-15. In that role, we stretched every dollar to maximize the number of people who received free legal services because they could not afford them. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: As a leader in the Bar Association I have championed changes to the rules to prohibit judicial officers from engaging in bias and discrimination. The rules must be reviewed continuously to accommodate changing norms and existing loopholes. Rules governing equity and fairness, however, are ineffective if the judiciary is not educated or educated sufficiently on what those rules mean and how they should be implemented. I am a strong proponent of continuing education programs, particularly on bias, implicit bias and discrimination to ensure that courts are fair for all. I have and will continue to serve on the ACBA Gender Bias subcommittee. I, as a judge would be just as accessible to the practitioners and bar associations across the state.
Megan Sullivan Party: Rep Biographical Info: County: Chester Mailing Address: PO Box 3425 West Chester, PA 19380 Education: Temple University Beasley School of Law, Juris Doctorate (cum laude) Saint Joseph’s University (B.A.) Qualifications: 20 years criminal & civil law experience. Deputy Attorney General in PA Attorney General’s Office & Supervisory District Attorney, protected victims including the most vulnerable members of our society as a child abuse prosecutor. Asst. General Counsel at West Chester University and civil litigator. campaign website: http://www.megsullivanforjudge.com Facebook: http://@megforjudge Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: I believe equal access to justice is essential to maintaining trust in our courts and our justice system’s legitimacy. I am committed to providing all individuals in my courtroom with equal access to justice by ensuring their voice is heard, their rights are protected, & that they are never subject to discrimination. I support efforts to enhance equal access to justice through legal aid programs that provide individuals with access to qualified attorneys. Providing interpreters for those individuals for whom English is a second language is also important. It is also important to give Individuals with disabilities full access to the courtroom. Everyone that comes before a judge should fully understand their constitutional rights. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: I have a deep respect for our Constitution and our system of justice. I have spent a large part of my 20-year career as an attorney helping others to navigate both the criminal and civil judicial system. I respect the system but understand why some fear it. Individuals who serve in the role of a judge must recognize that they are the arbiter of the rules and the process. This is a great power that requires objectivity, an innate sense of fairness, and humility. I possess these traits and am committed to delivering to all citizens a justice system that shows respect and fairness, as well as knowledgeable decision-making that takes into account the parties’ perspectives and applies the law objectively.
Pennsylvania Judge of the Commonwealth Court Description of office: The Commonwealth Court is one of Pennsylvania’s two statewide intermediate appellate courts. This court, established in 1968, is unlike any other state court in the nation. Its jurisdiction generally is limited to legal matters involving state and local government and regulatory agencies. Litigation typically focuses on subjects such as banking, insurance, utility regulation, and laws affecting taxation, land use, elections, labor practices, and workers compensation. The Commonwealth Court also acts as a court of original jurisdiction, or a trial court, when lawsuits are filed by or against the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Court is made up of nine judges. The president judge is elected to a five-year term by his/her colleagues. Generally, appeals are heard by panels of three judges sitting in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, or Pittsburgh. Term: 10 years Salary: $202,898 Vote for not more than TWO.
David Lee Spurgeon Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Allegheny Education: McKeesport Area Senior High Duquesne University - B.A. Duquesne University School of Law - Juris Doctor Qualifications: “Highly Recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association; Endorsed by the PA Dem; Serving as a Judge since 2016; Appointed by the Governor and unanimously confirmed by the PA Senate; Adjunct Law Professor; National Judicial Fellow; Domestic Violence National Expert; former prosecutor family violence campaign website: http://www.judgespurgeon4commonwealth.com Facebook: http://@judgespurgeon4commonwealthcourt Twitter: http://@davidspurgeon4J Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: As a judge, I use my position to promote systems change that ensure that all people have more accessibility to the courts. As a Judicial Fellow, I am using those resources to study the statistics over the year of the pandemic to understand whether the use of advanced technology communications increased participation in the court process. Often times, people with limited resources face additional obstacles inherent with our established court processes. Further, we can ensure that everyone in our community has equal access to the court regardless of how you look, who you love, the language you speak and your socio-economic status. Off the bench, judges should participate in the community as a stakeholder to promote the above matters. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: Judges must continue to be active members of the community. In order to understand how the court is perceived, one must be accessible and engage in intentional dialogue to understand all the people that we serve. Judges must continue to be trained in explicit and implicit bias as it relates to all aspect of the existing court system, and be open to discussing and participating in the changes identified to make the courts more equitable and fair. I recently participated in a national panel to address the racial disparities that exist in the child welfare system. On the bench, we must continue to serve as a servant leader and hold ourselves as well as our colleagues accountable for inequities.
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Primary Voters’ Guide Lori A. Dumas Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Philadelphia Mailing Address: 1234 Market Street Box 40606 Philadelphia, PA 19107 Education: North Carolina Central School of Law; Duke University; Executive Certificates from Cornell University, (D&I); University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government Qualifications: Trial Court Judge since 2002; Jury and Non-jury experience; Presided in Family, Criminal and Civil Divisions; Former Corporate Executive, Non-Profit Leader; Adjunct Professor; National Leader in trauma informed courts; Led the creation of victim centered juvenile human trafficking court in Phila. campaign website: http://www.judgedumas2021.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Judgedumas2021/ Twitter: http://Twitter.com/JudgeDumas Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: As a judge, I must ensure that every person that comes before the Court has the opportunity to be heard. I must rule according to the law without losing sight of the ultimate goal of dispensing justice. I must remove any obstacle which prevents equal access to justice by any means necessary. As a citizen, I can involve myself with organizations and in activities which seek to educate people about the Court, its processes and procedures and to equip them with the knowledge and power to to be able to use the legal system as an advocate for themselves and their interests. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: Judges set the tone in their courtrooms. They must model fairness, civility, patience and impartiality and demand it from those in their presence. In my courtroom, every voice will be heard and my decisions will be rooted in the law and cloaked in compassion and the urgency to do what is right. I must conduct a daily heart check to ensure that I am not bringing any biases with me that may interfere with my ability to render impartial decisions. I must call out injustice when it occurs...every time. In the community, I can educate others about their rights and the status of the law. I should regularly attend implicit bias trainings and require my staff to do the same, to ensure that fairness is not just a mantra but embedded in my core.
Sierra Street Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Philadelphia Mailing Address: 3241 W. Queen Lane Philadelphia , PA 19129 Education: Howard University B.A., 1995 Temple University Beasley School of Law J.D., 1999 Qualifications: Civil Division Complex Litigation Center Criminal Division Major Jury Trial Program Former Lead Supervising Judge, Philadelphia Indicting Grand Jury Program Former Staff Attorney, Defender Association of Philadelphia Former Chief Counsel, Friends Rehabilitation Program campaign website: http://www.judgesierrastreet.com Facebook: http://Judge Street for Commonwealth Court Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: The greatest obstacle to justice is access to adequate representation for the indigent population and moderate to low income families. In my previous roles as an Assistant Public Defender, Family Court Hearing Officer and Chief Counsel at a nonprofit organization, I witnessed firsthand the lack of access to justice for many individuals and did my best to help fill in the gaps. As a judge, I can now make sure all parties have competent counsel/ representation regardless of socio-economic status before proceeding in any matter that comes before me. Defendants should be able to participate in their own defense and pro se litigants should be provided proper guidance as they navigate the legal system. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: Additionally, I can make sure that everyone is treated fairly in court regardless of race, gender, orientation, etc. I am certainly sensitive to and keenly aware of unique issues faced by marginalized populations. As stewards of justice, judges should adhere to and apply the strictest rule of law while also championing inclusion and diversity. This will only strengthen our institutions.
Amanda Green Hawkins Party: Dem Biographical Info: County: Allegheny County Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4766 Pittsburgh, PA 15206 Education: Duke University, BA Northeastern University Law School, J.D. Qualifications: 20 years of legal experience. I was elected and served two terms on Allegheny County Council. campaign website: http://www.amandagreenhawkins.com Facebook: http://Facebook.com/voteamandagreenhawkins/ Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: I am running for Commonwealth Court because I know the importance of checks and balances, and judicial integrity. I have the compassion and the experience to join the court providing a dedicated work ethic and clear comprehension of judicial process. “There should never be an attitude of ‘less important’ cases, each case deserves a complete meritorious review.” I am one of 2000 nationally recognized labor attorneys. My career is not based on being a “rainmaker” for profits, but to guarantee worker’s safety and dignitary. When individuals enter a courtroom they should feel confident the judges reflect their values and believe they have been heard. As a civil and Human Rights manager, this is what I do every day. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: You must immerse yourself in service to your community. In 2020, I was selected by Mayor Peduto to serve on the Pittsburgh Community Task Force for Police Reform. I served on the Board of the Women’s Law Project, and Pittsburgh United. When elected to Allegheny County Council, I was Chair of the Committee on Economic Development and Housing, I also served on the Budget and Finance Committee, and Committee on Government Reform. I understand the value of volunteer time. My experiences have prepared me to be fair and impartial. Everyday at work I fight for human rights and civil rights. Judges have an obligation to their community to be a humble and thoughtful judge. Equal justice for all requires an understanding of all citizens.
Drew Crompton Party: Rep Biographical Info: County: Cumberland Mailing Address: PO Box 24 Harrisburg , Pa 17108 Education: Phil-mont Christian Academy Dickinson College Widener School of Law Qualifications: Currently a sitting Judge on the Commonwealth Court. I have authored over 100 opinions. They are balanced, well-reasoned and thoughtful. I am recommended by the Pa. Bar. I also serve on the Supreme Court Appellate Rules Committee. I have extensive Constitutional, statutory and regulatory experience. campaign website: http://JudgeCrompton.com Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: As a sitting Judge I have done all in my power to treat every person that comes before me with respect and fairness. Judges must ensure those with modest means have equal access to justice. We are all created equal but as judges we must insist that all are treated equally or justice is being unfairly denied. Filing fees and other court costs must be waived
for those who cannot afford them. Also, quality lawyers must be available to low income individuals free of cost for civil and criminal matters. Further as judges we must ensure that no one perceives that race or wealth or political connections are weighed when a decision is rendered. High ethical standards are vital to instill confidence in the Judiciary. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: Litigants must be convinced that the Judge’s personal philosophy does not impede justice. I have also defended the powers of each branch of government since citizens want to be assured that the legislative, executive and judicial branches are not overstepping their constitutional boundaries. Further I try to be a judge that has common sense and treats every person with common decency. Judges must also remain connected to their communities and not be overly isolated. People have more confidence in the Judiciary when they know Judges care about our the same things in our Commonwealth as they do. Judges must have a heightened sense of their words and actions in the courtroom. Both must be beyond reproach.
Stacy Marie Wallace Party: Rep Biographical Info: County: McKean Mailing Address: 5 Vista Circle Bradford, PA 16701 Education: B.A. Communications, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford (‘01) J.D., Duquesne University School of Law (‘04) Qualifications: More than 16 years experience & Owner of Stacy Wallace Law, LLC Specially Appointed Family Law Master & SORNA Counsel Adjunct Professor, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford Clerkships at McKean County Court & PA Superior Court Certified Mediator-Conflict Resolution McKean County Bar Assoc., President campaign website: http://stacyforpa.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StacyforPA/ Questions: Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice? A: Throughout my career, my purpose has been to always seek justice. I was first inspired to enter the legal field by a pamphlet for Northwestern Legal Services, a legal aid organization of which I now serve on the board of directors. I’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that our state’s most vulnerable individuals, including at-risk children and those with disabilities, have equal access to justice, and have done much of this work pro bono. If elected, I will continue to advocate for and engage with underserved communities. On the bench, I will be a steadfast defender of equal justice under the law in all matters and safeguard the rights of all citizens regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or financial status. Q: What can you do, both on and off the bench, to ensure an equitable and fair court? A: The makeup of the Commonwealth Court should be a true reflection of Pennsylvania and the broad perspectives and values of our residents. I will use my grassroots upbringing from McKean County, diverse experience, and values to guide informed and thoughtful opinions that produce more equitable outcomes. Off the bench, I will continue to engage our citizens, restore their trust in our courts, and raise awareness of our judiciary’s role and its moral and ethical foundations. Equitable courts start with having judges who value equality, fairness and a desire to serve others. As just one example of how I’ve done that in my personal life, I co-founded “Blessing Boxes of Bradford” which serves as small sidewalk food banks throughout McKean County.
Chester County Court of Common Pleas Judge Description of office: The Chester County Court of Common Pleas is a mid-level general jurisdiction trial court located in West Chester, Pa. This court, which was established in 1722, reviews all major criminal and civil cases, appeals from the minor courts including traffic matters and matters involving children and families. The Court of Common Pleas consists of 11 full time judges, who serve 10-year terms, and 2 senior judges. The President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas is elected to a 5-year term by his or her colleagues. The Court supervises Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation, Domestic Relations, Bail Agency, Court Reporters and the Law Library. The Court oversees and provides administrative services to the 17 magisterial district court offices that comprise the Magisterial District Court system in Chester County. Salary: $186,665 Vote for not more than TWO.
Carlos Alberto Barraza Party: Dem Biographical Info: Address: P.O. Box 651, Kennett Square, PA 19348 Campaign Phone: (781) 514-5053 Web Site: http://www.carlos4judge.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Education: University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI September 1999- May 2002 Juris Doctorate Recipient: Samson Scholarship Award, Abe Sigman Memorial Award, Outstanding Achievement in Constitutional Law II University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT September 1994 – May 1998 Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics/Actuarial Science Graduated Cum Laude Dean’s List: 5 Semesters Qualifications: Senior Deputy District Attorney with the Chester County District Attorney’s office. 18-year prosecutor who has prosecuted thousands of cases including 20 homicides and 8 murder cases. Been the lead prosecutor in over 80 jury trials, 15 bench trials, hundreds of summary trials and over a thousand prosecutions. Former supervisor in charge of training of over 50 new prosecutors. Recipient of the 2015 Prosecutor of the Year award. Instructor for the FBI’s Moot Court for Digital Forensics Examiners. Native of Mexico, naturalized citizen and fluent in Spanish. Facebook: www.Facebook.com/carlos4judge www.Facebook.com/carlosparajuez Twitter: @Carlos4judge Instagram: @Carlos4judge Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: Alternative sentencing including diversionary programs are essential in the criminal justice system to help prevent recidivism. Focusing on treatment and alternatives in sentencing are methods to address root causes of criminal behavior and activity. There are many issues including mental health and substance abuse that are directly tied into criminal offenses that alternative sentencing has an opportunity to address by providing resources to those who need the help. Further, it also allows a way to be creative to help people with things like job training, education goals and partnerships with the community for apprenticeship and training with the goal of improving through education and opportunity. Each case is unique based on the specific facts. Courts must have a variety of options available to address the issues an accused may face. The availability of options is vital in efforts to make sure the right result is reached for the victims, the accused and society in general. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: The role of plea bargaining is multi-faceted in our criminal justice system. Plea bargaining allows for judicial economy and the allocation of courtroom resources for other matters including jury trials, bench trials and contested pre-trial motions. For the defense, it allows for certainty and a resolution of undisputed cases in a timely manner which allows an accused to begin to get help they need or to move on without criminal proceedings looming over them. For the prosecution, it allows also for the allocation of resources on more serious or disputed matters to ensure that other cases be addressed in a timely manner. Further, it allows an opportunity for closure for victims, for victim’s voice to be heard through the bargaining process and for finality. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: To ensure that there is enough information to make these decisions requires a Court with experience on what are the appropriate questions, what information is needed and where to obtain the best information. Agencies such as the Pre-Trial services or Adult Probation can provide relevant information including someone’s ties to the community, history of appearance, family support, financial situation, criminal history, substance, or mental health history and work history. The Court should also rely on information relayed by the parties to help provide a complete and accurate picture of an individual to make proper determinations. Criminal cases involve issues of freedom and public safety, so actual courtroom experience is the most invaluable and important factor in making determinations such as these. Experience making difficult decisions quickly and decisively, provides insight on what questions need to be asked, what information should be sought and what pitfalls must be avoided.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
Primary Voters’ Guide Louis A. Mincarelli Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: 521 East Lancaster Ave. Downingtown PA 19335 Campaign Phone: (570) 751-3798 Web Site: http://www.Loumincarelli.com Email: info@Loumincarelli.com Education: BA: English Literature Ursinus College 1999 JD: Temple University School of Law 2003 Qualifications: Former Victim Advocate; Former Prosecutor; Private Practice for over 10 years. Facebook: @Lou Mincarelli for Judge Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: There is definitely a need for programs to deal with substance addiction and mental health issues. As a prosecutor, my first assignment was to run the Philadelphia Community Court Program which was designed to help combat the growing substance addiction and mental health issues plaguing our society. We experienced much success in getting desperately needed treatment for those who are most vulnerable while still protecting our community. The program enjoyed a great success rate as the recidivism rate was lower among those who entered the program for these non-violent crimes than those who did not. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: Plea bargaining is one tool that is at the disposal of the prosecutors to alleviate the need for victims to have to come to court to testify about their traumatic experiences— often continuing the cycle of victimization. As a prosecutor, I often took this into consideration when negotiating with defense attorneys in determining the fair and just outcome to a case. Now, as a defense attorney with over a decade of experience representing people from all walks of life, the option of a plea bargain is something that can potentially benefit my clients as it alleviates the uncertainty of taking a case to trial. All situations are different and the path chosen must be made by the accused in a knowing,, informed and voluntary manner. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: Bail is never supposed to be punitive. It is designed to assure the accused appears for court and to protect the community. All cases should be individually reviewed taking into account the seriousness of the accusations; the record or lack of criminal record of the accused; and their ties to the community. When applying court costs and/or restitution at the end of a case, the victim needs to be consulted to make sure that there is sufficient funds set aside to reimburse them for any losses or damages.
PJ Redmond Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: Box 2212; West Chester, PA 19380 Campaign Phone: (610) 209-6192 Web Site: http://www.VotePJRedmond.com Email: PJRedmondforJudge@gmail.com Education: Villanova University (BA English 1980), Villanova University Law School (J.D. 1985) Qualifications: More than thirty years in Courtrooms all over Eastern Pennsylvania representing individual people and businesses in both sides of disputes, and over a broad range of cases, always with a large concentration on criminal defense (now exclusively so -- at the Public Defender’s Office.) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PJ Redmond for Judge Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/PJ Redmond for Judge Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: Pennsylvania’s law has always provided for a sentence of Probation, and other alternatives to imposition of jail time as a sentence. As you might expect, a sentencing Judge may consider a sentence other than jail time when imposing sentences on people with no prior criminal history, or for whom other aspects of the case may suggest it appropriate. Probation is a broad term; it includes periodic personal supervision by the Court over a specified time; it is usually imposed with other conditions attached. Probation might be used, for example, (after a chance for input by victims) to tailor a sentence to defendant’s offending behavior (drug monitoring and treatment; mental health evaluation and treatment; continued employment; community service, and could include Electronic Monitoring or any other reasonable component addressed at requiring a change in the person’s criminal behavior) Probation actually is imposed as a ‘withheld’ jail sentence, so failure to change behavior or new convictions or failure to comply with conditions is a violation of the sentence and exposes the person to resentencing – including jail. Some crimes, or some patterns of repetitive criminal behavior might not be appropriate for probation, and might require a sentence of jail. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: Plea Bargains or Plea Agreements are a tool useful for the Prosecution and for the Defendant in the case. In reality, the criminal system could not resolve the number of cases before it if they all required trials. The law favors resolutions acceptable to both sides of a dispute and that’s what happens in an agreed-to sentence by plea bargain. The Judge is not involved in the process. Such an agreement (‘bargain’ in the sense of negotiation process, not a good price) involves the Defendant admitting crimes (which a jury would determine if there were a trial) , and the Prosecution committing in return to a specific sentence to be suggested to the Court. The Sentencing Judge is never required to accept proposed Plea Bargains, though. The Court might reject such a proposal on a finding that it falls short of an appropriate sentence, or other reasons. The Plea Bargain process is usually an advantage to both sides, because it eliminates the uncertainty a trial always involves, and time required for a trial, freeing public and individual resources that would otherwise be consumed by a trial. Because the result is a product of a back and forth between two opposing sides of a conflict, who know strengths and weaknesses from their perspectives, it generally produces a reasonable result. Competent lawyers are not going to reach an agreement that is too one-sided, or one that would be rejected by the Judge. Most importantly, the Judge ought NOT be involved in any negotiations about, the process of, or even whether, the parties want to develop a proposed agreement to present to the Court. The Judge must remain impartial and available to provide a trial if the parties require it, without having been involved in any pressure or discussions. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: The Constitution provides that a person accused is entitled to bail (except for murder). Pennsylvania Criminal Rules provides several tools for the Court to acquire information to set the bail or to order payments as part of a sentence of a convicted person. In the case of Bail (pre-trial, where the defendant is presumed innocent) factors the Judge may consider are set out specifically in Criminal Rule 523. They include the Prior Criminal History, the length of time residing in the area, ties to the community, the kind of case and potential penalties if convicted, whether the defendant has previously failed to appear as required in Court, whether the defendant is employed, the defendant’s family situation, whether the defendant is addicted to drugs or alcohol, mental condition, or past use of false identification. The goal is for the bail amount to ensure that the accused person will appear in Court when the time arrives. This information is gathered by the Court from the accused person or the lawyer and the court sets bail at the “Preliminary Arraignment.” Typically, and here in Chester County, the Court has an internal office (e.g. the Bail Agency, now called Pre-trial Services) which confirms information supplied to the Judge, and may offer that information and anything else relevant to the decision of setting bail. After a conviction, the Rules also provide for how the Judge acquires information about what kind of financial conditions to impose on a defendant as part of the sentence The information is supplied by the lawyers in the case as sentencing date approaches, and/or by another of the Court’s internal offices – (here the Office of Adult Probation), who can produce a ‘Pre-Sentence Report’, which involves a survey of the defendant’s life, job history, family history, legal history, medical history etc. The Court does not order one in every case; it is required in serious cases. The goal is to give the sentencing Judge information from an objective source, (to supplement what the parties might present) There are always cost of prosecution resulting from a conviction, payment of which is imposed on the defendant as part of the sentence. There are sometimes restitution costs too. The prosecution is required to invite the victims to submit a claim for any financial losses suffered. The sentence also requires that the defendant must repay restitution to the victims for financial costs or losses caused by the defendant’s conduct. In some cases, the Court is required to conduct a hearing where it hears evidence on the restitution claim in order to decide the restitution to be paid to the
victims. Like any condition of a sentence, failure to make payments ordered is a violation of the sentence and may result in resentencing.
Alita A. Rovito Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: PO Box 3493, West Chester PA 19381 Campaign Phone: (484) 402-7650 Web Site: http://www.RovitoforJudge.com Email: Alita@RovitoforJudge.com Education: 1987 - DICKINSON SCHOOL OF LAW, J.D., Carlisle, PA 1984 - PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, B.A. Philosophy, Schreyer Honors College, with distinction, State College, PA Qualifications: Rovito Law, LLC Sole Shareholder 18 South New Street, West Chester, PA 19380 1/2009-present Private Practice of Family Law, Arbitration and Mediation County of Chester 201 West Market Street Masters’ Unit, Fifth Floor West Chester, PA 19380 Family Court Master/Hearing Officer 4/1994-1/2009 Chester County District Attorney’s Office 17 N. Church Street, Courthouse Annex West Chester, PA 19380 Assistant District Attorney and Managing Attorney of the Child Abuse Unit 2/1988-4/1994 Cottman Transmissions, Inc Commerce Drive Fort Washington, PA 19034 In-house corporate counsel 9/19872/1988 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rovitoforjudge Twitter: https://twitter.com/rovitoforjudge Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rovitoforjudge/ Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: The Code of Judicial Conduct prevents any candidate for a judicial office or sitting judge to offer a professional opinion. The opinion that I present to you for consideration is my personal opinion. Chester County offers a variety of alternative treatment programs such as Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Court. There are intermediate punishment/ home confinement alternatives that allow someone to be home and work but with restrictions on their ability to be otherwise outside of the home. I believe a judge has an obligation to look at the whole person and see what they may need to do in order for the person to remain in community. It is my personal opinion that alternative sentencing allows all the facts of a person’s life to be considered when crafting a sentence that is appropriate for the crime, the victim, the defendant and community. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: Plea bargains are agreements between the prosecutor (with the agreement and consent of the victim) and the defendant. The role of plea bargaining is to aid in the administration of justice by reducing the number of trials that need to be conducted while still addressing the wrong that may have occurred. It cuts down on court time and resources and may also help the victim(s) move forward without the stress of going to trial. A plea bargain also provides the defendant an opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser offense, which may increase their opportunities for employment, education, and advancement. The judge has a duty to review the terms of the agreement and has the ability to accept or reject the agreement ensuring that not only the needs of the defendant but of the victim and the community at large, are met with an eye towards restoring justice to all. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: A Judge has no ability to “ensure” that there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail. Chester County has a Bail Agency which is tasked with doing the research necessary about an individual charged with a crime in order to make an appropriate recommendation on bail to the Magisterial District Judge. Bail is set by the Magisterial District Judge without input from judges on the Court of Common Pleas. Except for the most serious offenses and offenders, I believe that bail should be cashless or nominal. As for court costs, they are uniform throughout the county and an individual defendant’s circumstances can and should be presented to the Judge at the time of sentencing. If the Judge does not believe there is enough information, more information can be requested of the prosecutor, the defense attorney or the adult probation and parole department. Costs need to be reasonable, and there needs to be some way to reduce them while in prison or some incentive for compliance with the conditions of their release (parole) or probation (supervision without prison) through the reduction of costs and/or community service. The purpose of restitution is to make a victim whole from a loss that occurred during the commission of a crime. Again, all relevant information, including the ability to pay, should be provided to the sentencing judge at the time of sentencing.
Anthony T. Verwey Party: Dem Biographical Info: Address: P.O. Box 109, Downingtown, PA 19335 Campaign Phone: (484) 252-9297 Web Site: http://www.VoteVerwey.com Email: email@example.com Education: Juris Doctor, 1989 Widener University School of Law Wilmington, DE Bachelor of Science, Administration of Justice, 1986 The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA Qualifications: I have been practicing law for over 31 years in diverse areas of law ranging from civil litigation, to attorney discipline, eminent domain, real estate taxation and government. I have also successfully argued cases before all three of Pennsylvania’s appellate courts, including a number of cases before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. I have been independently rated as “qualified” for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas by the members of the Chester County Bar Association. I have also been named “Best of the Bar” by the Philadelphia Business Journal and a “Top Lawyer” by Main Line Today. I will bring a wealth of life experience to the bench as well. I was raised in poverty by my mother, a waitress, and my grandmother, a housekeeper. I understand struggle, hard work, and commitment. After high school, I enlisted in the military and after serving my country, I worked my way through college and law school. These experiences provide me with the temperament necessary to serve as a judge and an understanding of the importance of treating others with dignity and respect. I also have a record of community and public service. I started by serving my country and then continued serving my community in student government in college and law school. During law school I also worked in the Delaware Civil Clinic providing legal representation to those who could not otherwise afford it. As a practicing attorney, I served with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for 10 years investigating and prosecuting attorneys for misconduct. I spent 12 years raising money for Legal Aid and have served on board’s working to improve our community. I now seek to put my experience and commitment to service to work for the citizens of Chester County as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vote-Verwey-For-Judge-106036231402246 Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: Programs such as Drug Court, Veteran’s Court and Mental Health Court all provide valuable alternatives to incarceration. Each recognizes that addiction and mental health issues are not personal failings or choices, but illness that may be treated. These courts provide a path for treatment, while allowing an individual to remain a part of their community. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: Plea bargaining provides an opportunity for the prosecution and defense to negotiate the resolution of a criminal matter without trial, resulting in a defendant taking a plea, most often to a reduced charge or charges. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: The court does not independently gather facts with regard to a defendant as that would not be consistent with the impartial role it plays in these matters. It is incumbent upon the parties to gather and present sufficient information to the court to allow it to make its rulings.
Chester County Treasurer Description of office: Responsible for collecting taxes and maintaining financial records for the county. Organizes the regular collection of property taxes from county residents and special taxes from businesses. Responsible for issuing business permits, licenses and publishing unclaimed property lists. Term of office: 4 years Vote for ONE.
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Primary Voters’ Guide Patricia A. Maisano Party: Dem Biographical Info: Address: PO Box 707 Mendenhall PA 19357 Campaign Phone: (302) 379-3330 Web Site: http://firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com Education: Our Ladies of Angels College Wilmington College Sheffield College Qualifications: Current Treasurer for 4 years Legal and social control of the assets of hundreds of vulnerable persons Successful business owner and franchise developer for 25 years Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.maisano.50/ Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Treasurer? A: My successful business background in the private sector. My work with handling money has been overseen by the courts with in numerous states with clear court approval. Q: What do you see as the primary challenges to the role of Treasurer? A: Bringing the office into the 21st century in every aspect of our process assuring security to all personal information. My second and simultaneous challenge is enhancing the assess of the Treasurer’s office to the non- English speaking community and the disabled.
Q: What do you see as the primary challenges to managing the duties of the Clerk of Courts office? A: The Clerk of Courts provides so many functions and they often change based on new legislation and rules, so the primary challenge is staying on top of all these various services provided to ensure accuracy and efficiency. I began having every one of the 28team members review every process on a regular basis and write down exactly how each process is done. I also modernized the office to make these functions easier for everyone, internal and external. I instituted e-filing to increase access to justice, to save taxpayer dollars and to allow lawyers to see documents online and work from anywhere at any time rather than handing in and requesting paper documents only during office hours. I am glad to have initiated these basic but critical procedures to solve the primary challenge of the office and to streamline management going forward.
Chester County Coroner Description of office: Investigates all sudden, violent, traumatic or unexpected deaths. Determines cause of death by conducting inquests; performing autopsies; conducting pathological and toxicological analyses. Assures the individual’s proper identify and provides notification to the legal next of kin. Term of office: 4 years Vote for ONE.
Party: Rep Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Treasurer? A: - no response – Q: What do you see as the primary challenges to the role of Treasurer? A: - no response –
Party: Dem Biographical Info: Address: P.O. Box 904 Exton PA 19341 Campaign Phone: (484) 985-0356 Web Site: http://sophiaforcoroner.com/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Education: bachelor’s degree: Major: Anthropology, Minor: Nutrition, Certificate: Forensic Identification master’s degree: Forensic Medicine Qualifications: 2 years with Chester County Coroner’s Office -1 year as First Deputy Coroner -1 year Chief Deputy Coroner 8 years total in Death Investigations Certification by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators Certification by the Pennsylvania’s Coroners Education Board Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiaforcoroner Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Coroner? A: Education: 1. bachelor’s degree: Major: Anthropology, Minor: Nutrition, Certificate: Forensic Identification 2. master’s degree: Forensic Medicine Internships: 1. Internship with Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office 2. Internship with Human Identification Lab Relevant Work Experience: 1. 2 years with Chester County Coroner’s Office a. 1 year as First Deputy Coroner b. 1 year as Chief Deputy Coroner 2. 8 years total in Death Investigations a. 6 years with Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office- South New Jersey Certifications: 1. Certification by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators 2. Certification by the Pennsylvania’s Coroners Education Board Relevant Chester County Coroner Office Experience: 1. Sign death certificates with cause and manner of death 2. Serving on various tasks forces: Child Fatality Review Board, Drug Overdose Task Force, Elder Abuse Task Force, Mass Fatalities Planning in conjunction with Chester County Department of Emergency Services. 3. Managing the Coroner Office Budget 4. Managing all aspects of the Office: Administration, Death Investigation, Transportation 5. On-call supervisor 24/7 6. Investigator and Transporter trainer 7. Respond to scenes and investigate deaths Q: What priorities will you address in the Coroner’s office? A: 1. Working towards Chester County building a modern Forensic Facility to provide a better service to Chester County residents 2. Growing the office and adding positions such as an on staff Forensic Pathologist to help save the county money having a staffed pathologist instead of paying per exam 3. Strengthen the relationship with Law Enforcement to ensure proper investigations are conducted 4. Increase community awareness and transparency by providing more community outreach to include: Public Information Sessions, Education based presentations to High School and College Students, information sessions to longterm care facilities and hospitals
Chester County Controller Description of office: The chief financial officer and chief auditor. Exercises general supervision and control over the County’s financial affairs. Authorized to examine the accounts and official acts of all officers or other persons who collect, receive, or disperse the County’s money. Term of office: 4 years Vote for ONE.
Regina Mauro Party: Rep Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Controller? A: - no response Q: What do you see as the primary challenges to keeping the County’s financial affairs in order? A: - no response –
Margaret Reif Party: Dem Biographical Info: Address: 81 Devon Dr Downingtown PA 19335 Campaign Phone: 610-721-3418 Web Site: http:// MargaretReif.com Email: email@example.com Education: BS Economics/Finance Qualifications: Current incumbent Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Margaret Reif for Chester County Controller Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Controller? A: Background in Economics and Finance, small business owner, certified Public Pension Professional, and three+ years of experience as the Chester County Controller. Q: What do you see as the primary challenges to keeping the County’s financial affairs in order? A: In Chester County, we should be very proud of our Triple AAA bond rating, we have very talented accountants in both my office and in Finance. Overall, we are doing very well. Having said that, though, I have learned...in my three years in office...that there are a lot of opportunities to improve upon what we are already doing. At the moment, we are working to implement multiple County-wide automation initiatives that will help to streamline services, provide more efficiency and save taxpayer dollars! I hope to earn one more term in office to see those projects through.
Chester County Clerk of Courts Description of office: Performs administrative duties in the criminal and civil justice systems and assists other officers of the court as well as judges and lawyers. Maintains court records, administers oaths to witnesses and jurors, and authenticates copies of the court’s orders and judgments with the court’s seal. Term of office: 4 years Vote for ONE.
Carmela Z. Ciliberti Party: Rep Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Clerk of Courts? A: - no response Q: What do you see as the primary challenges to managing the duties of the Clerk of Courts office? A: - no response –
Yolanda Van de Krol Party: Dem Biographical Info: Address: 1 Maude Circle Paoli, PA 19301 Web Site: http://www.VandekrolforClerkofCourts.com Education: B.A Hamilton College M.A. University of Delaware Qualifications: Incumbent successfully doing the job for the past 3.5 years Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VandeKrolforClerkofCourts Instagram: VandekrolforClerkofCourts Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Clerk of Courts? A: My experience is being the incumbent and having done the job effectively for the past 3.5 years. To be successful, the Clerk of Courts needs to treat this position as a full-time job. I show up, I listen to the team members who often have decades of experience, and I build relationships internally to collaborate in making positive change. The office cannot provide legal advice. While I have made great strides, there is still more to do.
Frank Speidel Party: Rep Biographical Info: Address: 215 William Penn Blvd. West Chester, PA, 19382 Campaign Phone: (484) 463-7027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Education: BA, Kalamazoo College Physics MBA, Wharton, Finance, Information Systems Design MD, Temple University School of Medicine Residency, Medical College Of Pennsylvania, Emergency Medicine Qualifications: Decades of clinical practice in emergency medicine. Four decades of Board Certification by ABEM Facebook: Frank Speidel For Chester County Coroner Questions: Q: What education, training or experience have you had that makes you fit for the position as the Coroner? A: Years of clinical practice of emergency medicine has provided me awareness of the pathophysiology of disease, the complexity and nuance of disease and trauma. The specialty and practice of emergency medicine encompasses toxicology, environmental injuries, trauma, medicine and behavioral illnesses in both adults and children. In addition, during my service on active duty with the United States Navy as a Flight Surgeon, I have received education and training in nuclear, biologic and chemical warfare as well as formal training in aviation mishap investigations. Throughout my career I have provided leadership to my organizations at ever increasing levels of responsibility, from Department Head, Chief of Emergency Services, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Quality Officer, Privacy Officer, Compliance Officer and hospital CEO. My service to community and country has included EMS Medical Director for both Chester County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I am a Gulf War Veteran and served proudly as Senior Medical Officer for the carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower and Battle Force Red Sea. I have demonstrated I can perform, manage and succeed in critical, high stress, complex environments. Q: What priorities will you address in the Coroner’s office? A: To determine the identity, the cause and manner of death, of those who die within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Coroner of Chester County. To perform the reverent duty of notification of the next of kin. To do this compassion and integrity, free from political influence, with awareness of the duty to be the voice of those who cannot speak.
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-1-01 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Mark A. Bruno Party: D/R Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: - no response Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: - no response -
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
Primary Voters’ Guide Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: - no response
Daniel Hollander Party: Dem Biographical Info: Address: P.O. Box 3329, West Chester, PA. 19381 Campaign Phone: (570) 709-1089 Web Site: http://www.HollanderforDistrictJudge.com Email: Daniel@HollanderforDistrictJudge.com Education: Bachelor of Arts, The George Washington University Juris Doctor, The Catholic University of America Qualifications: - Attorney licensed in Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Federal courts). Formerly licensed in Washington, DC. - Public servant dedicated to continued service to community. - 100% of my legal work is courtroom based. - Currently, senior trial attorney with the Chester County District Attorney’s office with extensive courtroom experience handling thousands of cases from pre-trial motions through sentencing. - Trials include: homicide, assault, child abuse, illegal firearms, terroristic threats, felony theft, DUI, wiretap violations, drug violations. - Selected for the highly competitive position as Clerk for the United States Department of Justice Civil Appellate Division where I worked on cases involving detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Represented indigent individuals in landlord/tenant and family law matters at a free legal clinic in Washington, DC. - Law Clerk to Administrative Law Judge Facebook: www.Facebook.com/HollanderforDistrictJudge Instagram: www.Instagram.com/HollanderforDistrictJudge Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: Throughout my career, I have been a very strong supporter of diversionary programs. Providing first offenders and non-violent individuals an opportunity to get the treatment they often need is frequently more beneficial than simply incarcerating them. A prosecutor has the unique ability to use his or her discretion to advocate for Defendants to be placed in these programs and my track record of doing so speaks for itself. Since my first day as a new prosecutor to my current status as a senior trial attorney, I have always encouraged the expansion of alternative sentencing programs and diversionary courts. This is why, in a somewhat unusual joining of forces, my campaign treasurer, Susanna Dewese, is the First Assistant Public Defender. Working with me on a daily basis, Susanna recognized my commitment to doing what is right and just, while simultaneously ensuring Defendant’s have a real opportunity to learn from their mistakes and move forward with their lives. I have always prosecuted with the thought that it is better to teach and treat rather than simply incarcerate. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: Plea bargaining is an important piece to the criminal justice system. Without the benefit of plea bargaining, the system would screech to a halt. However, plea bargaining is much more than an issue of judicial expediency. Plea bargaining allows Defendants to take responsibility for their behavior, formally admit their wrongdoing, make restitution, and apologize to the victims. Perhaps most important is that plea bargains often spare an emotional and anxious victim from being forced to testify in a public setting. In exchange, the Defendants often receive a reduced sentence compared to what they would have received after a conviction at trial. In that respect, plea bargaining is a mutually beneficial contract. The most important factor which a judge and prosecutor must be aware of is ensuring that a Defendant who enters into a plea agreement is doing so without coercion or because of a lack of understanding. As District Judge, I will carefully consider the reasons behind the Defendant’s agreement to the plea to ensure that the Defendant has entered into the contract in a knowing and voluntary way. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: It is imperative that the District Judge receive a full history from the Defendant to properly set bail. This would include the Defendant’s current living environment, level of education, employment, family background, prior criminal history, medical and psychological history, and prior failure to appear warrants. Sometimes the purpose of bail is overlooked. Bail should not be set for punitive purposes. This would be inappropriate since all Defendants come to court with a presumption of innocence. Instead, monetary bail is to be used primarily to ensure the appearance of the Defendant when required by the Court. The criminal justice system has far too often treated bail as a method of preconviction punishment for people who are economically disadvantaged and cannot afford to post. As District Judge, I would treat each case in which bail must be set as unique – there is no cookie cutter amount appropriate for each crime because every Defendant that appears in front of me will have a unique set of circumstances. What I can promise, however, is that bail will never be set in an arbitrary and capricious manner or to jail someone simply because they were arrested. Monetary bail will only be set in cases in which the Defendant is a flight risk or appears to be a danger to the community.
Marc J. Lieberman Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: 1356 Skelp Level Rd. Downingtown PA 19335 Campaign Phone: (610) 430-3701 Web Site: http://www.marclieberman.com Email: email@example.com Education: Henderson High School 1985 West Chester University BA in Psychology and Minor in Peace and Conflict Studies 1994 Widener University of Law J.D. 1997 Qualifications: 23 years of legal practice in defending individuals accused of a crime, Real Estate law, Landlord tenant law, Family law. Facebook: Marc J Lieberman for MDJ Instagram: Marc J Lieberman for MDJ Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: Alternative sentencing should be used as often as possible. In my experience, most criminal offenders have an underlying issue of drug addiction and/or mental health problems. Alternative sentencing allows the courts to address these issues. When these issues are addressed, it cuts down on recidivism. There are offenses for which jail time is more appropriate, though. When the charges are more serious or the offender is a recidivist, jail time may be a necessity in order to protect the public. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: A plea bargain is an opportunity to allow the prosecutor to review the case, consider the underlying facts, the law, and any mitigating circumstances. A prosecutor must assess the strength of his or her case. There are charges that may be easier to prove than others. A plea bargain also offers a defendant the opportunity to accept responsibility of an offense when he or she may be reluctant to do so. When pleading guilty, the defendant cannot make a claim of a wrongful conviction. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: In Chester County, Pretrial Services usually makes a recommendation as to appropriate bail. This recommendation is based on information that they have about the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s prior record, their living situation, prior compliance with bail conditions, etc. A Judge can also rely on information from other sources like the arresting officer, family member of the accused or the defendant. Court costs are usually fixed, and the court rarely can change them. In considering fines, a Judge should be consistent yet take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay.
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-1-02 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Mackenzie W. Smith Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: 810 Forest Lane, Malvern PA 19355 Campaign Phone: (610) 547-1102 Web Site: http://www.mwsformdj.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Education: Tulane University, BA 2005 in Italian and Linguistics (magna cum laude) Middlebury College, MA 2006 in Italian Studies Temple University Beasley School of Law, JD 2009 (cum laude) Qualifications: I am the only candidate for District Judge 15-1-02 who possesses a law degree. Although Pennsylvania does not require district judges to hold a law degree, I believe that this is an anachronism and that all judges should be lawyers, because deep knowledge of the law, the Constitution, and the rules of evidence and procedure are critical at all levels of the justice system. Additionally, I have practiced in both the criminal justice system (as a prosecutor at the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and as a defense attorney, representing those accused of crimes) and the civil justice system (I have represented clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to a newborn baby born into the foster care system, in courts ranging from district court all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court). This experience makes me the candidate with the broadest, most impartial perspective. Facebook: Facebook.com/mwsformdj Twitter: twitter.com/MackenzieForMDJ Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: These diversionary programs play a critical role in the criminal justice system and in the lives of those admitted into the programs. It is absolutely crucial that the people working in the system –police officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, and of course judges – acknowledge and hold sacred the humanity and dignity of those accused of crimes. Oftentimes, individuals who are coming into the criminal justice system lack the support networks that we all need in order to thrive, and diversionary programs are one mechanism (among others) that we can put in place to avoid incarceration and provide some sort of support network. I have personally attended many “graduations” from diversionary programs, and I have seen the positive impact that these programs can have, when administered effectively and with compassion and dignity. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: Plea bargaining is an essential part of the criminal justice system. The vast majority of cases result in some sort of negotiated plea, and if plea bargaining did not exist, there would be an insurmountable backlog of cases. Like virtually all discretionary mechanisms, however, plea bargaining has the potential for abuse. That is why it is critical to have the most qualified people working in the District Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, and as judges to ensure that all individuals who have been accused of a crime are treated fairly and within the bounds of the law and the Constitution. I have worked with many of the fine lawyers in the DA’s Office and the Office of the Public Defender, and have appeared before most of the judges currently sitting on our Court of Common Pleas, and I have profound respect for how tirelessly they strive to protect the rights of the accused in Chester County. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: At the trial court level, typically a representative from the Pretrial Services Unit (a.k.a. bail agency) prepares a detailed report to assist the judge with setting bail at the formal arraignment. However, at the district court level, where preliminary bail is set (usually within a short time after arrest), judges must often rely on information received from the police department and the accused individual and/or his or her counsel, if any. It is therefore critical that the district judge take the time necessary to consider all relevant factors – for example, whether the individual has previously failed to appear for court, whether the individual has strong ties to the community, whether the individual is financially able to post bail and to what extent, etc. – before setting bail. While district courts are not courts of record in Pennsylvania, I believe that cash bail should not be imposed without a detailed analysis of all relevant factors by the district judge and the disclosure of such rationale to the accused individual.
Thomas W. Tartaglio Party: D/R Biographical Info: Web Site: http://Https://judgetartaglio.com Email: Info@judgetartaglio.com Education: B.S. Criminal Justice, West Chester University Magisterial Judge Certification, PA Supreme Court M.S. Criminal Justice Admin-Organizational Leadership, Colorado State University Qualifications: 24 years in the Chester County Justice System 12 years Judicial experience Lived up to my oath to be fair & impartial Facebook: @judge_tartaglio Instagram: judge_tartaglio Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: A fantastic way to divert first time offenders or I use restorative justice measures when all parties wish to participate. Many of my bail orders incorporate treatment/counselling rather than incarceration. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: None, I will review any plea present to make sure that the defendant is making a knowingly, voluntary and intelligently decision. A plea can’t be prejudicial. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: All my payment plans for traffic cases start after the appeal, stay period. I use a payment determination hearing where the party explains their financial situation. Work history, income, and current obligation are documented. A payment amount is set that the party feels they can be successful paying over a time frame. I use community service, resume preparation, or educational classes as credit. My criminal arraignment is one of the most important duties I have. Criminal history, grading, flight risk, and danger to the community are reviewed. My bail interview can be lengthy to find the best non-monetary conditions to gain the defendant’s compliance to court rules and appearance at their next court date.
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-1-03 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Gregory Hines Party: D/R Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: - no response Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: - no response Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: - no response –
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-1-04 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for
CHESTER COUNTY PRESS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
Primary Voters’ Guide whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Marian Vito Party: D/R Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: - no response Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: - no response Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: - no response –
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-2-07 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Maria Varano McDowell Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: 256 Eagleview Blvd. Suite 233 Exton, PA 19341 Campaign Phone: (267) 908-5948 Web Site: http://mariavmcdowell.com/ Email: email@example.com Education: Pennsylvania State University (B.S. Economics, 1988) Widener University School of Law (J.D. 1992) Qualifications: •Served as staff attorney for several justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (both Democrat and Republican) for almost 28 years. •Extensive working knowledge of Pennsylvania law, including criminal law, criminal procedure, landlord-tenant law, contract law and municipal law. •Resident of Uwchlan Township for almost 23 years children have attended Downingtown Area schools for the past 18 years. •Served local community through school organizations, local youth sports organizations, my church and other local community organizations. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Public-Figure/Maria-VaranoMcDowell-106062158097745/ Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: The goal of sentencing should be effective deterrence while maintaining the possibility of rehabilitation, family reunification, and reintegration into society. The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing promulgated the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines which the court must consider when sentencing. The court will also take into account the facts of the case, the defendant’s prior record, if any, any aggravating or mitigating circumstances in the case, any input from victim or victims, input from the defendant and arguments made by defense counsel and the Commonwealth. To the extent alternative sentencing can achieve these goals within the legal framework in which sentencing occurs, they can be an appropriate alternative to jail sentences. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: The Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure provide the criteria a judge must consider before accepting or rejecting a plea bargain, including whether the plea was made knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently; the defendant’s understanding of the nature of the charges against them; the defendant’s understanding of the rights they are waiving; the victim’s position regarding the plea, and the precedent in similar cases. Coercion and intimidation should never be a determining factor in whether a defendant accepts a plea bargain. Plea deals can be beneficial to all parties and promote justice and public safety if negotiated fairly. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: All defendants should be interviewed by the court before bail is set. Bail, as with all aspects of the law, should be reasonably applied and without discrimination as to race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, political affiliation, and socio-economic status. The law strongly disfavors anyone being in jail solely because of an inability to pay fines and costs or restitution. I would apply the law to the facts in each individual’s case.
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-4-01 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Lauren Holt Party: D/R Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: - no response Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: - no response Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: - no response –
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-4-02 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Ann M. Feldman Party: D/R Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: - no response Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: - no response Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: - no response –
Jeffrey J. Valocchi Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: 32 Downing Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335 Campaign Phone: (484) 614-2461 Web Site: http://www.reelectjudgevalocchi.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Education: University of Notre Dame – BA Saint Louis University and University of Pennsylvania – JD As a sitting judge I participate every year in a one week Continuing Judicial Education Course which has kept me updated on relevant developments affecting the Court. Qualifications: As an attorney I have over 35 years of legal experience in general areas including civil, criminal, family and municipal- related legal matters. For ten years I participated in Mental Health hearings on the Mental Health Masters Circuit which has provided valuable insight into the many cases that come through the Court. As a Judge I have conducted thousands of hearings in my 12 years on the bench. Facebook: www.facebook.com/ReelectJudgeValocchi Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: Alternative dispositions are almost always preferable to incarceration and fines. If there is any possibility that the defendant and all others involved will benefit from other alternatives, I encourage and facilitate that approach. Examples of alternate resolutions I have utilized in my Court are community service, addiction programs, educational programs geared toward the matter at hand or similar types of programs which will inure to the benefit of the parties involved and the community at large. The Court monitors the defendant’s participation in such programs to insure successful completion. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: Plea bargaining at the MDJ level is somewhat different than on the Common Pleas level. Notwithstanding, in those cases where justice and efficiency indicate that a plea bargain is better for all involved, including the taxpayers, the Court will approve and facilitate a plea bargain reducing a charge from a misdemeanor to a summary offense. In such cases the Court will monitor any alternative disposition to ensure successful completion. It is often better to keep the case at the MDJ level rather than permitting the matter to go through the more complex. time-consuming and expensive procedures inherent in the Common Pleas Court. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: One can never have too much information when making decisions in setting bail. In our county a pre-trial agency provides information regarding a defendant’s prior record and other significant information they can obtain in the short time they have to provide the Court with a bail recommendation. This information is supplemented with information provided by the defendant at the time of the preliminary arraignment. In my Court I will generally only set cash bail in cases where there is a good reason to believe that the defendant may not otherwise attend subsequent proceedings, is a danger to others or a danger to him/herself. Court costs and restitution are very different from bail. In general, the Court has the discretion to release a defendant from payment of Court costs when the defendant, through no fault of his/herself, is unable to pay. The Court has less flexibility and discretion regarding restitution as this involves injury or damage to a third-party victim which obviously involves different considerations.
Chester County Magisterial District Judge 15-4-04 Description of office: Magisterial district judges (MDJs) do not have to be lawyers but are required to pass a qualifying exam. They handle civil cases up to $12,000; responsible for whether serious criminal cases go the Court of Common Pleas; handle preliminary arraignments and hearings; minor criminal offenses, traffic citations and non-traffic ordinance violations. They are responsible for setting and accepting bail, except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. Term of office: 6 years. Salary: $93.338 Vote for ONE.
Bobby Brown Party: D/R Biographical Info: Address: Friends of Bobby Brown, PO Box 8066, West Grove, PA 19390 Web Site: http://VoteBobbyBrown.com Email: BobbyBrown4MDJ@gmail.com Qualifications: Bobby Brown has served as a Pennsylvania State Constable for over 14 years. Facebook: Facebook.com/VoteBobbyBrown Instagram: Instagram.com/VoteBobbyBrown Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: We advocate education before incarceration. When applicable, we sentence 1st time offenders and juvenile offenders to community services such as: •Working at a community center •Working with the local borough public works crew •Assisting the elderly in a nursing home •Serving meals at the prison We don’t see this type of sentencing anymore. We are too quick to set bail and incarcerate. Addendum: The statements provided represent Constable Bobby Brown’s personal opinion and should not consider a professional legal opinion or advice. Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: The role of plea bargaining is to reduce the number of trials judges need to oversee. It’s an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant to where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to some or all of the charges usually in exchange for a more lenient sentence. Addendum: The statements provided represent Constable Bobby Brown’s personal opinion and should not consider a professional legal opinion or advice. Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: We rely on court records of the defendant’s history, bail recommendation from the bail agencies, and personal contact with the defendant during court proceedings. Addendum: The statements provided represent Constable Bobby Brown’s personal opinion and should not consider a professional legal opinion or advice.
Matthew Seavey Party: D/R Biographical Info: Questions: Q: What is your opinion on programs for alternative sentencing rather than jail time? A: - no response Q: What is the role of plea bargaining? A: - no response Q: How do you ensure there is enough information on the defendant to set appropriate bail, court costs and/or restitution? A: - no response –